House of Worship
Do you remember, those nights?
When we were young and carefree like the
breeze that teased us between our clothes, and the windchimes
became our song.
The nights where we wandered our way out
the back door, to follow the s t r e a m of moonlight
deep to the heart of the woods,
and there beneath the full moon, you showed me
that even the most loyal of angels, was created to
Or those mornings when the birds sang us awake
and the clearing we had discovered,
once filled with lush greens and flower beds that were breathing with life,
was now a sea of lava and we laid on black silken sheets,
sweat dripping down our bodies as the fire
R O A R E D to life in my ears,
and I sang out hymns in your name between the tears
because even Heaven existed in the
outskirts, of Hell.
The gold cross y o U r father gave you
‘round your neck,
and every time we kissed,
it stung like frostbite between my breasts.
Yet when we caught our breaths,
the sheets tangled while you cradled me gently,
and my fingers a n d
d c e
their way along the edges of the necklace,
my nails grazing your chest
the way it was a part of you.
You always watched.
perhaps even lovingly,
at how I hesitated,
too superstitious that I’d burst into flames by merely touching…
that sacred cross.
You say prayers in a language that
is music to my ears, despite never knowing
what is it you said,
when you suddenly switch like that,
and I found my own church on my knees in the front seat of your car,
intoxicated with how Malibu Rum tasted better
coming from your lips and tongue.
I can’t be contained by a single religion
and you’ll never hear me ask
or even beg for forgiveness,
because being wrapped in your arms,
surrounded by a fire the never seems to go out,
is the only salvation that I seek.
The passing of time had long since eased the pain, and he smiled as he thought of her.
Not for how tiny she was, or how her long eyelashes made her
bright blue eyes rival the ocean, but held the innocence of a saint.
It wasn’t because of her smile – soft pink lips tainted with last night’s lipstick –
managed to steal his breath every time.
It wasn’t even because of her laugh, that reminded him of bells ringing on Christmas Day.
Or…that time when the rain came down in buckets and there she was,
dancing barefoot in the driveway with her arms stretched out before her,
like she was preparing to fly away.
Or those nights when he would come home, finding her curled up with a blanket,
favorite mug filled with tea and cradled to her chest as she stared at nothing.
The way she gently shook her head when he asked what was wrong,
saying, “all is fine,” and giving him a smile,
that never quite reached her eyes.
From spring to fall
petals rained down on her, making her smile wherever she went,
alive with the promise of forever.
Then fall morphed into winter,
and when the leaves dared to brush against her ankle for even a second,
she disappeared, without a single goodbye.
It was when the first snowflakes fell from the sky and stuck to the ground,
that he understood.
The very truth all those years ago, now sliding into place.
His smile saddened as he remained in the cold, watching the snow fall,
wondering if this was how she must have felt.
Chained to a frozen dessert that threatened to silently wipe out her fire.
They had met in the spring and like her favorite flowers,
their love slowly built before bursting to life
only to end as quickly as it begun.
It was because even cherry blossoms don’t live forever.
And she —
She was his precious cherry blossom.
Lindsay Stenico is a poet and fiction writer from Western Massachusetts. She graduated from Westfield State University with a BA in Communication and English. Her work can be found in Otherwords Press, Proving Ground Online Magazine, and Persona. She tends to spend her time scrolling on Twitter as @lindsay_stenico, on Instagram as @dreamswitheyesopen, and updates with blog posts on her website https://lindsaystenicoauthor.wordpress.com/.