All in the Stars

My mother was an Aries
caught between ram and war god,
  her spatula set to flip pancakes
or smack the sin out of any fool
who blasphemed scriptures,
     spoke in tongues when
she didn’t know the words to a song,
figuring the Lord was the only

one who needed to understand.

I was a Cancer, sleeper cell
      moon goddess who kept
her legs shut, hand wedged between
thighs, fingers strumming as if I
could make my own music.
My mother wanted
a daughter clean as fire,
held the oil lamp steady
as a surgeon as she waved it
over my body to exorcise

demons and the ability to orgasm.

I still woke up wet and prayed to God—
the originator of
       hellfire and Dairy Queens—
to save me from rapture of all kinds.
We were tired as Cain and Abel,
shouted into a grey softball sky for judgement;
neither of us needed salvation so much
as to know which one was cursed
to survive the other.


Nancy Hightower