Martie Swart CC
So Soft, So Sacrosanct
Three thick branches up the old oak tree
is her hallowed place.
Something about the smell
of sweet earth and sharp breeze
makes her feel holy. Or maybe,
holy is her skin – so soft, so sacrosanct –
nestled into the fork of moss and leaves.
With the point of her protractor,
she writes a Bible in the bark,
each parable a heart filled with that name –
the one too sacred, too saccharine,
to soil with the saliva of her tongue.
Her fingers, consecrated in chipped pink nail varnish,
take the four gospels from their hand-sized hollow.
She cups them like holy water in her palms:
the broken lead from a half-chewed yellow pencil
they gave to her in third-period geography,
a bubble-gum wrapper folded into a diamond
that they had dropped at her feet lining up for assembly,
the bobble transferred from their warm, damp wrist to hers
in the heat of the changing rooms – it smells of them: vanilla and salt,
the still-sticky false lashes she’d helped to remove from their crying eyes
at that party where they pressed close together in the bathroom stall.
Under this green awning,
she composes hymns from sighs,
learns the taste of her own litanies,
the air becomes an altar to her dreams.
Elizabeth Kemball is a writer originally from Stoke-on-Trent now living in Cardiff. Her work has been featured in journals such as: Black Bough, Ink Sweat & Tears, and Variant Literature. Her micro-chapbook 'A letter from your sheets // if your sheets could speak.' was published by Nightingale & Sparrow Press in March 2020. She is an Editor & Designer for Re-Side and Co-Fiction Editor for The Broken Spine. Twitter: @lizziekemball.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.