by Selena Cotte

Like a spell, or magical incantation

I can grant meaning to anything:

I threw the first punch, I saw it in a dream

I once told a boy that I could not meet him for lunch

because my father would come ‘round.

Minutes later, Dad rang to make plans. My savior.

We went to the Taco Bell, the one around the corner,

his bible like always on the table

and to this day I unpack John 3:16

with cheesy gordita crunches;

and if it wasn’t too cheesy I’d ask

what does my own father mean

when he points to everlasting life,

do we share a heaven because I think we share a hell,

or so Mom said that they carted him off

to the same place they took me at 17

I asked him once, about it, at that same TB,

but it was the same sublimation, same deferral to God.

If I’m being vulnerable, I pretend I believe he means

Here Lena, this is the only way I know how to tell you

it will all be okay if you let it;

now eat your quesadilla,

and let’s never speak of this again.

My father, my savior,

he tried to hand me a pickaxe

and I left it at the Taco Bell.

Selena Cotte (she/her) is a poet and internet scholar living online and/or in Chicago. She is originally from Orlando, the Most Magical Place on Earth.

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