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prayer is glassiness is touch -- poetry by Lynn Kong

There was a crack between the cushion of the pew and its wooden back,
so naturally the hand of a little boy emerged from that sacred wrinkle.
I reached out and touched it on that Sunday of veins.

His hand pleaded to be mothered, and so my hand acquiesced.

That was that.

Gnarl met velvet as our fingers started to lace, as the rinds of my palm clasped a lily
pad hand. So instead of the time-honored recoil, there was a mingling of flesh: it felt like tulle, like barrenness staggering into solace. Even the sheen
of our melded thumbs was akin to impetuosity: the unevenness
of a half-finished Rodin statue.

I come from chapel touch.
The nudge that prayers make when people utter earthen things:
things made earthen by a desire almost carnal in insistence.

We prayed.

We knelt. I taught him.

This is the way you must kneel: by curving the cathedral that bodies you into the mark
of fingernail on flesh.
It hurts like betrothal. Use this glassy scythe
to gouge out lassitude, to plant a hymn that adorns
soiled grief.


Lynn Kong is a senior from Cary, NC. She has been published in Up North Lit, The Society of Classical Poets, Parallax Literary Journal, Crashtest Magazine, and elsewhere. She serves as a senior editor for Polyphony Lit. When she isn't writing, she can be found soaking up Isaac Babel's wondrous short stories.

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