he was the first boy that i let touch me
in places my mother had proclaimed

that's when I learned that adding girl and
boy and sex then minus marriage it
makes for a one way trip to hell because
impure is just another word for whore and
whore is just another word for condemned

when i go to church i feel the eyes of god
through the stain glass windows and they
are burning holes through my sunday best
and i really hope no one notices how my
hands shake as i hold the bible or how i
whisper the words to the hymns as if
they taste sour on my sinner's tongue or
how the cross i got for christmas lies unworn
in a box in my bedroom because i tore it
off when i couldn't get the thought of his
hands running up my thighs out of my head.

my mother has always told me that the way
to heaven lies in the scripture of the bible
but my mother is a housewife who has sighs
that weigh more than mountains and dust
inside the corners of her mind. her fingers
trace the pages of the bible like my fingers
trace his skin and it is during the nights
i spend in his bed that i question whether
the path to heaven and the path to
happiness are the same thing.

he whispers the lord's name into my hair
when he is close like it is not a blasphemy
and there is something thrilling about
being in a sanctuary where god does not
caress the walls. he holds me after and
tells me of adventures outside of this town
on the beaches of europe and the cities of
america and the deserts of africa. he tells
me of life outside the church and the bible
and i wonder if god can tell when one of
his sheep start to wander away from the
flock because my mother has no idea and
the thought that i am veering away from
the path to heaven has left nothing but