Tag by Julie Schroeder

After Brownies,
We seek perfumed fragments
sacred bones
shards of the True Cross &

a picture of the Devil.

Votives wink, chicks in their cups
Incense burns, thick as sage in turkey stuffing.

Elpida crosses herself.
–charred and goaty!

Crosses herself.
–Horned, small-eyed!

& Sarah and I think
(Protestants we)
That He Is Not—IT!
             (Though Elpida insists he is.
             Crosses herself.)

We beg for kourebiedes,
hold in cool lustrous palms
the pearls she wears to church.

Her mother is in a darkened bedroom
a towel over her eyes (no cookies)
be quiet get outside

Tense with trespass
we play tag in the church.
corner-squeaking sneaks,
lemon confessions squeezed
from sunwarm pews.

I find a single almond candy
beneath the gaze of a hundred olive-eyed saints,
(in matching gold vests, and haloes).
They hold up three fingers each
(like Brownies) as if to bless me,
or perhaps us?,
this lozenge of being: alone and among.

& I salute back,
with christening on my tongue.

Julie Schroeder has a BA (honours English) from the University of Calgary, and an MA in English from the University of Toronto. I’ve had poetry and essays published in many literary magazines and newspapers. I maintain a semi-parodic blog translating Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations into “housewife”. A member of the Writer’s Guild of Canada since 2002, I’ve also written for film and TV. I live with my husband and sons in Hudson, Quebec.


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