Thank God and Blame Women

Leah Mockridge
I am no disciple,
I am the deity of misplaced desire.
Men often mistake my ego for exaltation.
My body is no place for expiation even as
hands press into my flesh.
Call it their providence.
Call it a gift from           

Dirtied hands delve into my holy water,
hoping that somehow, I could save them from sin.
I am their temple of temporary absolution.
The notion that women like me are just bread to be broken 
     for communion.
Indoctrination from years forced to my knees in divine retribution
     with expectation that I will break before the hymen.
The idea that virginity is just an apple waiting to be plucked 
     by some unworthy Adam.
I pray they don’t confuse me for an open chapel,
my blood for wine undrank, my body for bread unbroken.
I am no sacred place for stained men to seek asylum. 


This isn’t a confession of some cumbersome contrition;
in fact, I revel like red devils in the night.
Purgatory is just a name for the space between my thighs.
Penitence is what men prefer after impious action.
This isn’t faith, it’s fetish--
I am a sacrificial altar for masochists masquerading as messiahs.
Palms up they pray in demeaning doxology.
This is a covenant of crucifixes and false prophets,
filled with gnashing teeth and unhinged jaws,
hungry for whatever holiness I’m willing to impart. 

 Take all that I am worth and call it retribution.
              Take all that I have and call it tithing. 

This temple filled with false idols and forked red tongues that cry out,
“Repent, repent, repent!”
The serpent reincarnate is hidden in the anointed.
He whispers to Adam: 

                    Thank God,
                              and blame women.