Notre Dame High School
i have never been baptized. i have never felt
my sins washed away.
this is what i have felt: second-hand
sacraments, arms crossed over my heart, head bowed.
fortune-cookie condolences, paper airplanes
folded from hymnal lyrics. et exsultavit spiritus meus. oh,
does anybody have the time?
all rise, be seated, come forward.
faith is something whispered into your ear
and you never know who’s saying it.
consider: one day a man meets his maker and is taken to a cave.
his maker grabs him by bloody fingers and, weeping,
pulls him back down to him.
i have never been reborn. i birth and rebirth myself every morning,
my immortal soul gaping open raw and bloody, heart beating
in time with the ticking clock.
consider: he kneels in the garden.
crimson beads on his temple, falling,
turning the soil to ivory and gold.
the spirit is willing, the spirit unbreaking
and tenuous and afraid, but the flesh
is weak. it must be so, it will be so, i
must make it so. gloria, gloria, fiat voluntas tua.
we all know something of desperation.
consider: lazarus never knew he would be saved. he emerged from heaven
mummified, entered the world trailing cloth and dust. for a moment
he could have been anybody.
i design execution on myself, fingers tracing
down, left, right.
i confess every borrowed sin
to every god i have on loan and, god,
it is body and blood and chorus tones,
shaking just so.
Exploring immortality, biblical stories, and self, the author reveals the disconnect between practice and belief. The author's language commands attention, creating images raw as flesh and dripping with nuance. It reminds me of my seventeen Christmases in a borrowed faith, sitting on a pew in an itchy wool dress and staring up at the dark wood beams overhead.
Sandhya Ganesan is a student from the San Francisco Bay Area. Her work has been recognized at the national level by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, and appears or is forthcoming in Parentheses Journal, Body Without Organs, Blue Marble Review, and elsewhere. She studied fiction under Dana Diehl as a part of the 2020 Adroit Journal Summer Mentorship Program, and is the editor-in-chief of Saffron Lit. She will graduate in 2021. You can find her on Twitter at @sungslept.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR