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In the City of Gentle People -- poetry by Josefin Eraula

i stand wide-stanced in a holy sanctuary,

a martyr saint beckons me to stay and listen to the

unspoken-turned-mumbled prayers from


tongues of the kneeling-- a sign of

surrender, in hopes their faith will hold steady

the unstable ground balanced above


the devil’s palm; where he bides his time

until the people stop believing in a hard of hearing god.

a trust fall backwards, eyes squeezed shut,


testing if their whispers can reach the

heavens faster than their tears can extinguish hellfire.

i barely catch their cracked voices in the


crackling, begging for forgiveness

as if they had done the unforgivable, something

worthy of damnation-- and i almost


understand; i start to cross my

arms, push the weight of my body onto my

heels. hands clasped, i try to imagine


the face of whoever

catches me and whether the impact

will exorcize my spirit


or etch my skin with

the mark of cain; call it

sacrilegious living.


Bless me Father, for I have sinned.

It has been ten years since my last confession.


i found comfort in my dreams,

as dreamers do, of an eternal rest.


a war broke out behind the bathroom door, shards of glass stuck

in a storyteller’s throat. a flock of lambs lie dead in a wounded

shepherd’s cellar. the blood of both sacrifices circling the drain.


Being, whose face I don’t know,

teach me how to rub red clay soil off porcelain.

Wash away the stains on my wrists and

tell me how you love with no mercy.


let that be the earth that grounds me.


if i must fall, let me fall in the center of this cathedral, on my knees--

apologies from a non-believer who wants to believe this candlelit grace will soothe

the pain of being pushed to the edge of the world and into what’s left of it.



 

Josefin Eraula is currently a senior at Goose Creek High School in the Berkeley Center for the Arts Creative Writing Program. While in the program, she has received many regional awards from Scholastic Art & Writing in the past 3 years. When she’s not writing, she can be found cooking, reading, drawing, or learning new things. Her favorite types of writing are ones with the ability to evoke thought, move others, and allow space for introspection. Josefin does her best to be involved in the world around her, so she continues to pursue new opportunities.

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