Why I was Married by a Non-Affiliated Priest

The black print of Ephesians 6 commands
wives: Submit.
Women are notified:
dainty vertebrae
can’t build crucifixes.
Onion-skin papers concede
neither feminism nor fear.
I’ve begged God
with a cracking throat
why can’t I just be happy?
Teenagers kiss behind pews
with communion wafers
shoved under their tongue.
When found, they are scolded, raided,
like land stolen in a war.
As a girl, I was told:
the feet of my brothers
confuse which paths
are light and which are dark
so I, their sister, must cover myself.
For thirteen years
the only
holy sacrament
I could eat
was my tongue.

Stephanie Renae Johnson is the first place winner of the 2017 Lumina Magazine Poetry Contest and the Editor-in-Chief of The Passed Note. Her work has been published by New Ohio Review, Beecher’s Magazine, Jabberwock Review, and QU, among others. She lives in Asheville, North Carolina with her husband and their seven bookshelves. You can learn more at www.srenae.com

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