The pressure of a vertical line of ash-
Strawberry blonde curls tickling my face as I hold her close to my chest. Cramming into a studio apartment on Bleeker Street. Hiding your gold watch you are giving up for Lent between the two broken oak floorboards that always creak.
And a swift brush of my forehead to cross it-
Waking up to a removed womb and the smell of sterile metal. Walking up to the third floor of my townhouse to finally sleep in my own bed again. An abandoned engraved gold watch stuck in a shoe box in the closet whose gold refuses to fade: DJT + MJS.
And nine years later, my thin black tights still get caught on the splintered oak wood of the pews. Blood cakes where my knuckles split from the cold. I am holding my white leather Bible with ‘MJS’ etched in gold that hasn’t faded in 21 years. I am still wearing bright red lipstick that you would have kissed away by now. And I pray that somehow my presence every year will somehow atone for her(our) death. At least for one more year.