Rumpled white bedsheet splashed with lines of light

‘A Sonnet for Catholics’ by Jean Gaffney

Trigger warning: Religion, rape.

A Sonnet for Catholics

April was when we sat on small porch steps telling secrets
through smoke. I want to try to be with you and she would say back:
I am with you. I admired her for the way she escaped
orthodoxy. Her beauty––unrestrained.

The next day, I went to confession to ask forgiveness:
we’d laid naked together and the priest told me to control my sins.
But it happened again, over and over, because I wanted it to––
we wanted it to. Until one night my best friend––a man––

raped me. The next day, the rigid wood walls of the church settled in.
The smell of mold and grace consumed me. I stepped up to the promenade
to find my duty encased by marble. The bones of saints, bleeding out from
water to wine. I went to confess to the priest again, he said: you’ve been freed.

A man loves me. I walked away to devise my escape through
the stained salt that brings light to the darkest of place.

Rumpled white bedsheet splashed with lines of light

About the author

Jean Gaffney (they/them) is a senior at Albion College. They study Literature and Environmental Policy. When they’re not studying, they like to pet pugs, drink coffee, and read. You can follow them on twitter @smudgegaffney.

Photo by Alexandra on Unsplash.

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