I remember staining my life at the cross
like any good church girl, my sin
crushed like a dead bird, ground
under God’s finger, laid next to the sin of the girls
before me. I murdered my only dove for Him,
when I offered her mid-preen, her back
turned to His light. I could not turn back
to my old life—I had crossed
another Jordan—I broke my phone, broke my moon for him.
It was impossible to be the best, the sin
taking over like the mold in the bathroom, the girls
popping the heads of the mushrooms growing from the walls, not the ground.
Sometimes I pretended to be immoral, my hands on the ground,
not in the air to praise. I used to pour out my spirit back
then, not a Joan of Arc but just another girl
in love. I sang songs about strawberry wine and crossed
my fingers, hoping the hot July moon wouldn’t see my sin
explode like stars against the car windshield, my legs wrapped around him.
But the guilt kept its promise, my good Good Samaritan. I’d fail Him
again, I knew. I was my own maker of disposal, the ground
still wet with my passion. What is a boy, but a super magnet for sin?
To quote The Book felt X-rated—my virginity growing back
only to be thirsted for by the boys. So I threw up the cross
on the cross, I threw up the bird, I threw up the girl,
I threw up the scrambled eggs from breakfast—is this what it meant to be a girl
lost to the world? I was infested with regret, I crumbled to Him
and him. On purpose, I forgot to look both ways when I crossed
the street, traffic meeting me as gentle as a tickle on my toes, the ground
a feather on my face. So I tried mixing butter and suicide. Back
then, I blossomed sadder than a nunnery. Sin
was sewn into me, grew with me, my sin
supersized. Smaller and smaller the girl
in me became, leaving the little whore so strong now, her back
hairy like a beard, my beautiful whore. I tried to forget about Him.
I took my whore to college, she kissed the ground
outside the library with her painted lips. She uncrossed
her legs, and I loved her back. I wrapped her warm in the sin
of every finger I crossed inside her. And I fed her pizza. No girl
would need Him, so we broke Him, buried Him in the ground.
Diannely Antigua is a Dominican American poet and educator, born and raised in Massachusetts. Her debut collection Ugly Music (YesYes Books, 2019) was the winner of the Pamet River Prize and a 2020 Whiting Award. She received her BA in English from the University of Massachusetts Lowell where she won the Jack Kerouac Creative Writing Scholarship; and received her MFA at NYU where she was awarded a Global Research Initiative Fellowship to Florence, Italy. She is the recipient of additional fellowships from CantoMundo, Community of Writers, Fine Arts Work Center Summer Program, and was a finalist for the 2021 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and chosen for the Best of the Net Anthology. Her poems can be found in Poem-a-Day, Poetry Magazine, The American Poetry Review, Washington Square Review, The Adroit Journal, and elsewhere.