l Am the High Priestess of Washington D.C.

So I will raise my right hand and bless
the ground you walk on as long as you promise
to forget everything your mother told you about
God and by extension about kings like me who used
to be held up by the skin of their skirts before
blossoming into not-boys but close. I’m an Enneagram 2
which means I never learned to stop giving.

Heat lightning as seen from Louisville
is a sign of more to come, baby. You’ll raise
your head up high and wait for galvanization and
in the twilight, you will be reborn as a bridge. Can you
imagine that, baby? Electricity streams from the
heavens to hell through your body. I’ll protect you
from charring. I’ll put you on the Silver Line going
to nowhere because the concrete fucked up.

I want to tell you everything my brother never did;
by which I mean that I love you. You don’t deserve
a hanged man for a priest. The sweetest marriage
I oversaw was a couple climbing a tree and then taking
me out for grocery shopping at H-Mart the next
day. We bled in front of the lobsters taken captive.

Stories build trust, so here’s one. The D.C. sniper
was one of the reasons I could have been born
up north. Maybe you and I would find God in a
Little India like Brampton instead of the basement
of a record shop off of the Potomac. In another
world, I am Pope Joan. In this one, I’m trying my best.

Salonee Verma is a Jharkhandi-American writer and the co-founder of antinarrative, a collaborative zine. Her work is published or is forthcoming in Backslash Lit, GASHER, Pollux Journal, The Lumiere Review, and more. He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. More: saloneeverma.carrd.co