• Rachel Henley

House of God

And in her room she built a shrine.

All bone marrow, flesh, and blood.

Dusky pink particles cover the vanity.

Everyday potions applied to shape and change her face:

In the morning to conceal, in the evening to reveal.

Two matches burnt out and laid at the feet of god.

Hot wax melted and dripped onto love notes, written to her by her body,

Little threads of gold her mother had given her.

The room smells of bubble-gum and evergreen,

No hint of death or misery to be found.

Deities litter the walls on pages torn from holy books,

Frayed at the edges, infused with power.

Patrons leave their tithes everywhere:

On shelves

In drawers

On the nightstand

Between the sheets.

Heretics come too, looking to find god herself,

Often lingering longer than welcome.

It is the house of god. The home of a mother. The grave of a child.

The place where womanhood is gifted.

A blessing bestowed on many, but a miracle nonetheless.

She will leave this place, this home

An offering to the next girl.