“The plastic statue of the virgin” by Julia in her office

Friday December 20, 2019
9:57am
5 minutes
The Alter
Charles Simic

Nonna carried the Vigrin Mother in her purse, and had one on her shelf, and one in a drawer under her nightstand. Nonna believed. Prayed. Maybe mostly felt guilty, but man was she a determined attendee of the smallest church you ever saw. Every Wednesday night and Saturday night and Sunday morning. Any chance to wear those pearls, get your hair pinned into fresh curls and to walk around getting told how beautiful you are. I am her nipote from the root. I got her church singing voice, her need for validation, her sweet affinity with entertaining babies. It’s been a few years, have we already lost count? She is missed beyond her faith or what we can make little jokes about today. She was always folding my underwear into perfect squares. Always sneaking us a twonie while telling us not to tell our parents cause they’d make us give them back. She believed in more than I ever have.

“Do you have what it takes” by Sasha in her garden


Sunday June 22, 2014
5:39pm
5 minutes
from an email

My knees have splinters. I’ve been praying a lot. Do you pray? (Sigh). I used to have a problem with that word because I didn’t think I deserved it, I didn’t think I had what it takes. I was raised Catholic so… prayer was pretty connected to shame and… repentance. I was an alter boy, you know. That fucking hilarious. Father Nathan would stroke my head and his hand was hot. He had eyes like glaciers, like, like, a husky. He was a good guy. I remember telling him that I’d masturbated and he smiled and said, “better that then getting in fights like the other boys your age!” And he winked. He winked a lot. Makes you feel special, when someone winks at you, even if you know that they do it at other people too… Makes you feel like there’s a secret there, between you. Gives you a flutter in your belly.