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Chaste Marriage to my Confessor

I am on a ferry, and the lake
is in a particular state
of agitation, and they’re
playing Canon in D
and I weep, kneel, vomit,
weep. My love for you
is bound to clandestine
clutches in the eaves,
knocks on the confessional
in Morse, recitations
of Lamentations
in suggestive tones.
I am the woman
with a section in her
Rolodex for “éclairs”—
lightning lovers come
and gone quicker
than Luke 19:41.
It’s just a season,
you say through
the grate. I’m just
a sickness you’ll sweat
out. But I’m afraid of you—
the way God surges
through your body, I’m
afraid of my famine
for you, the way my sins
scribe themselves
in my lining
such that when
they slash me open
in the end they will see
my furtive love for you
in its skin. Let it be
boundless now, let
the lies I’ve told
be left at the threshold
of the sanctuary,
let my lust— if I be lifted
up from the earth
and draw all men
unto me, divert
them from my doorstep,
deliver me: derelict,
delinquent, damned,
back to dust, get up,
you command, get up
you shout get up!


Kameryn Alexa Carter is a Black poet and assemblagist. She is a founding
co-editor of Emergent Literary, an online journal for Black and brown
artists. She is a student in the Master of Arts Program in the Humanities
at the University of Chicago, and her manuscript was a finalist for Cave
Canem’s 2021 Toi Derricotte and Cornelius Eady Chapbook Prize. Her work has
appeared or is forthcoming in 68to05, Bennington Review, Letters Journal,
Puerto del Sol, and elsewhere.

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