practice your curtsies like cursive arabesque your best dress at the sanctuary door
last names come from blessed men copy the red script and copy your mother
take the pledge take the promise ring and cross your legs sterling crucifix your neck
if you want to make it to the heaven room sacrifice your body in the river
seven seconds hold your breath let the old man’s body hold you under

( twice the baptismal pooled under my feet, a river that couldn’t run. )
( bed-ridden, six weeks after rape, I pull my body back together again. )

mold yourself from clay cake blush to bone put on best dress
copy a poem on the church bulletin do not make eye contact at the door
take a pledge and cross your legs when the Sunday boy enters the heaven room
seven minutes hold your breath twist your crucifix tangle it tighter
if you want to make it through the sermon sacrifice your body at the door

( last words come from men. ) (copy the red. )