We began to pray again—
Pools of wax on the dining room table
Cooled and ordered themselves in a
Stacked column around a wick stuck
Solidly in a golden base that we
Packed away in newspaper in the rafters
We felt the weight of the box above our heads
As we floated upstairs to
Brush our teeth in un-anointed water
And sleep every night beneath the watch of the secular
Side of the moon
We returned to our mothers.
The fat in our hips crept up our sides
And spread itself thick beneath the young
And freckled skin of our faces
We pulled teeth from treasure chests and
Returned them to the emptied sockets in our gums
Where we sang hymns in small voices
Somehow, our hair grew backwards and shorter until
Our soft, bald heads dipped back into
The Holiest water
Necks held firmly by
The grace of our godmothers
And then we were born.
Softly, slowly, feet first.
—Annelise Rittberg (she/her/they/them) is a young queer poet from the Twin Cities. When people mispronounce her name, she reminds them that it’s pronounced like they’re renting an apartment: on-a-lease. Annelise can be reached at [email protected] for questions, ideas, or jokes.