Ima Reading Sexton This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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I've heard my grandmother pray before
Whisper lived-in incantations into wooden beads
Caress the nude Messiah, from the nails down
And that's what it sounded like,
When she picked up my blue textbook and
Eased it to page twenty-seven …

Like her tongue making love to a sacred marble
Smoothing out the foreignness of the word:
Room
Pull
Steelts
Skeen
Ano bato? she asked me after I'd said it for her
What is this?
She read on, a pugish half-grin on her face as she
Absentmindedly touched the picture of the two
Parts of the dwarf, the sadist, the barbed hook

I forgot the words, let them press into me until they
Dissipated, and I was just left with Ima
Reading poetry like ancient encryption on a stone tablet
Like the rounded ceiling of my car became a holy vestibule
The scruff of sage that had been rasping in her throat for the past
Thirty years suddenly ignited, and out from her mouth poured
Plumes of incense, filling us like hemorrhaging in reverse

Elena G. and Madam Anne became a transformation all their own
Fusing together under light of dashboard
Her sensual lips, ripe and pruned from her Gregorian recitation,
Formed the final words of the poem:
Wonpart Doppellginger
Wonpart papa
Wonpart barb dhook
Wonpart soft as a woman …

Ah … Ang historia ito
She said after a long silence, the emotion in her voice
stirring the haze
Her hands resting sideways on the blue cover,
Crooked and deep like two sleeping newborns
Ang historia ito
This is a story, she said
This is a story
She understood

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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