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The Religion I’ve Made of My Mother

I believe in ghosts and angels and god or a burst

that made me from love. I believe in a city

where no one is hungry with houses made of native grass

and biodegradable long-term material and the color yellow.

I am inside one of these houses, the one my mother makes

as she disappears, she disappears in the making of it,

she’s surrendered, she holds desire by its neck.

She eats the cake, the salmon, the ramen, the drunk’s

final piece of bread, the glitter dress. Her mouth engulfs

a McDonald’s hamburger in the middle of night. She’s lean,

round-brush bangs, bleached blonde. Some years I don’t see

my mother then she appears, fearless, not afraid of god or distance

or the ground, not afraid of her own going, like I am.

Acrylic nails with that subtle pink so her hands look more soft

than strong. I believe in her hands. I can’t imagine a world without her

in it, eating and smoking. The Marlboro burns near a corner of her lips.

I can’t believe in a god who relies on wounds to be seen.

from Sugar WorkFind more by Katie Marya at the library

Copyright © 2022 Katie Marya
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Alice James Books.

Published in Katie Marya Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.