Yellow Sweater

United States

Zinnia | she/her | bi | agnostic | 18 | WA

2021-2022 Seattle Youth Poet Laureate

Elitist Atlantic Subscriber (jk, but I do think the Atlantic does some awsome journalism)

I don't necessarily agree with my own assertions

Message to Readers

I took several old poems and mashed them together. I'm feeling pretty good about this one:) I'd love to hear your ideas on how I could make it better, more cohesive, more poignant, more... anything really!


September 14, 2021



The church was locked. I rattled the handle, trying to force my way through the smoked glass door. It was noon and hot. I just wanted God or Love or Shade or perhaps to drink the Holy Water. I cursed the pope, slammed my fist against the cherry wood frame, then turned back towards the street. 

I stood in the middle of the road, my fingers splayed, the sun pouring over my head, in through my hands. Slowly, I walked back towards my house, retracing the path I had etched down the hill. 

This is what four years have come to: a school in the distance, an empty church on a hillside, a road, a home. 

Should I pray? Right here on the concrete, between steps?

Or should I wait till next week? 

here is the church
and here is the steeple, 
and here are the doors 
and here are the people. 

I feel only my bones,
curved into trusses 
under the weight 
of an absent faith. 

my rib cage is a fist 
of hidden fingers, 

reaching towards 
a heart of empty space,

pulsing dully, 
hungry for mass.

I can not open:

the church 
or the steeple 
or the doors 
or the people.  

I hear the priest mumble, over and over again, 
what sounds like a prayer but is actually an offering: 
body of Christ, body of Christ, body of Christ... 

but these hands are pressed shut and unsatisfied, 
unsure how to pray, how to capture
the silence between psalms, between their palms.

these bones are not stone 
and this body is not bread.    


A person 
   is a church 
        is a window

is the sun setting at the end 
of the lane. 

leave your shoes beside the door, 
because here we are holy

and wrapped in sheets that 
could be funeral shrouds 

if we want. 
Or we could never die, 

and instead, wash each day 
in the morning rain.

A person
   is an alter
       is the glass

is the sun sheltered 
behind the clouds.  


See History

Login or Signup to provide a comment.

  • crystalline•galaxies

    i’m such a sucker for religious imagery and this piece was just. gorgeous.

    22 days ago
  • Paisley Blue

    Re: thats awesome! I can imagine how nice that feeling must be, to just know that you've landed upon a poem that says what you want it to. Yeah even skimming it again rn its just so beautiful. Nice job :))

    26 days ago
  • kaylasghost

    re: thank you so much, ALSO fhdakkdfsldlks this is sublime how are you so talented?? "but these hands are pressed shut and unsatisfied, /unsure how to pray, how to capture/the silence between psalms, between their palms." you are truly incredible, i had to read this piece over again, it's one of the best things i've read in a while

    27 days ago
  • Paisley Blue

    "leave your shoes beside the door, / because here we are holy"
    "I feel only my bones, / curved into trusses / under the weight / of an absent faith"

    27 days ago
  • Paisley Blue

    Possibly one of my favorite things you've written. Just... the diction, the flow, the sensory details; I adore it. Gosh this is something completely different and yet comfortable...? I don't have words. I love all of your work but this is another level.

    27 days ago