JESUS DOESN’T LOVE THE LITTLE CHILDREN AS MUCH HAS HE USED TO
ain’t that just the gotdamn truth?
red & yellow? nope, don’t want em’
—especially the red all their blood later
the oranges still steal
crimson-wet land breaking
heads & contracts raising
stone cold towers over
bones anchored with steel
from golden peril.
is the black & white
still precious in his sight?
well, one of these is.
look how comfortably snow drowns
all color. drowns the brown
in black sites. funnels the black
to ghetto, down broke-hearted schools,
into thirsty tangerine jumpsuits
that devour their occupants.
to the conflagration of innocence
jesus will say on sunday
(a single tear clawing from
the dried-up right eye)
all lives matter
god’s will
with every head bowed
& all eyes
closed
raise your hand.

BLACKBERRY AT THE RIALTO

don’t cry
but keep your heart
within reach
don’t alter
dance
partner then say
kiss me
then kiss me
it was she who saved.

big night eyes
ambitious black hair
i named her Blackberry
and said
don’t cry
she:
i feel sad.

my date stared past me
drumming fingers arrhythmically
into indifferent masturbation
i distanced myself from his table
so his beat couldn’t assault me
shrugging off the haunt of disappointment
my habitual maneuver.
why hope for animated communion
with an unbeliever?

Blackberry
thin and tall
clung to me peach
and i accepted stone
yes
incarnated.
we danced
rectangle to round
somewhat clumsy but profound
in its public character
—making out pulled over
at the side of the road.

drowned on sadness
and life’s rough jazz
on her unboozed breath
the faint reminder
of her lover’s cigarette
—cherry rolled in ash.

i met
a stranger in her
marrow.
while her lover played
on stage
we shared osso bucco
and she confessed
heresy
signing me into
the razing circle
of celebrity
which made
another woman
intrude
grabbing my arm
hugging me
in pantomimed love
as if i were a priest
between her desire
and the stage.
i unbelieved her
and aside that Sapphic bramble
he sat
a yellow cucumber
that overstayed its vine


stephanie roberts was born in Central America and grew up Brooklyn, NY. Her work has been featured in many journals, in North America and Europe, including Arcturus, Atlanta Review, Crannóg Magazine, The Stockholm Review of Literature, FLAPPERHOUSE, Occulum, and elsewhere. A 2018 Pushcart Prize nominee, she now explores reverence from a wee French town outside Montréal. Twitter shenanigans @ringtales

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