TW: miscarriage, spiritual abuse
âMy mother was baptized and raised in the Catholic church. Her miscarriage had struck when the nursery was already painted, a mural sheâd done by hand, redbuds and dogwoods, the trees that sequined the Ozarks in spring, and made April my motherâs favorite month. In her grief, sheâd sought solace from her priest. Sheâd asked him, âIs my baby girl in heaven?â And received the unwelcome revelation that April Annâs small, unbaptized soul was stuck in Limbo. My mother said that's when the nightmares began. Her baby girl trying to slither under a smoldering steel bar held aloft by grinning demons, set lower and lower still. Her baby girl weeping and wailing, inconsolable, trying to get under that bar without touching it, the bar bursting into flames, the demons laughing, and Mom couldnât reach her, couldnât rescue her, and there was no God.â
âmy father is perched on our staircase, arm leaning against the walls. he is lazy, drowsy in his movements and eye-crust dotted on the bridge of his nose. i linger by the fridge, intrigued as he tells me of his time spent in saudi arabia, when the old sun was burning his body and a cig was permanently plastered in his index and middle fingers for hours on end. my father drawls out that he spent his pay on packs each day, smoking till something in his heart gave, whether it was a beat, a sputter, an ache, the ashes piled together to fill the spaces in his empty home.â
Somewhere in America, a butterfly is flying. You would love it
staggered with daylight, a white-rimmed forewing held in provocation
to the wind. See, you would know those greying blue cells
mean vulnerability. You take a few home anyway. On paper sheets
you spread the paralyzed body and sketch every vestigial vein and thrust
the thinnest pin through the crackling thorax. Dedicate it to VÃ©ra.
Mim Murrells reads an excerpt from "The Equation, or for External Use Only", forthcoming in Wrongdoing's second issue
"The question is in the pleasure,
and why stomata become stigmata.
The problem is in where there ought to be girl-meat,
where there is instead a past-life seed,
where I am hung drawn and quartered
suspended pregnant with the world,
never to come to term.
It does not go away."