the time that johnnie walker started speaking
walker fluttered from his lips & baptized me
that was my escapade with religion
because alcoholism is hereditary
medically denoted in fall 2015.
my baptism is the beginning of my life
& johnnie walker baptized me
my father can’t kill us because respectable brown man
because i’m his name
because service worker
because why kill me when he can
when i can just become johnnie too or even better
or captain morgan
or jim beam
& baptize my children too, free of charge
just the liquor tax
my family reunion will be in teetering legs
& holes in walls
& broken shot glasses, wait, broken bowls, wait, broken mugs
because johnnie walker will drink himself from the molding pavement
if it means he nourishes himself that night
i will never have children, because i don’t want to be their crucifier.
my mother tells me that her astrologist told her
she will die at 60.
“only 10 more years of this” she says
my heart flutters at the image of amma
dancing with the tamil ammas with their honeyed tones
in the afterlife. is the afterlife where marinated & chewed bones
are buried & finally become free
This poem was the runner-up of the poetry category of our eighth annual Writing in the Margins contest. Poetry entries were judged by Gwen Benaway. Briarpatch will be accepting entries for the ninth Writing in the Margins contest in September 2019.