by carolynn kingyens
I remember the first time I touched a crucifix.
I was five years old, alone, in my grandmotherâ€™s
powder-blue bathroom, unaware of suffering and sacrifice,
unaware of the million and one ways a sinner could torture
a saint and still get away with it
, when I felt compelled
to caress Christâ€™s hard, flexed veins that arched out
from his shin bones, calf muscles, pretty feet.
The crucifix was nailed to the floral-pattern wall
next to the light switch, His eyes forever cast down,
staring at my grandmotherâ€™s personal things,
little nighttime rituals â€“ boxes of Polident, chalky antacids,
rosary beads, her little jars of beauty cream and that
tethered picture of her only son, my father, a little boy
dressed for holy communion, mimicking hands of prayer,
mimicking the face of innocence, wedged securely
inside the edge of the switch.