Poetry: Selections from Emmie Christie
He Calls Himself Evangel
I have encountered Conquest,
A herald seraphim -
A harbinger of sacred fervor
Wrapped all up in righteous sins –
He said he’s here to help us,
To save our precious souls,
But I detected many skulls
Under all that grinning skin.
He’s stolen many lives
(All in the name of fire),
In that apex of desire
That he ignites inside the breast.
He called himself Evangel, and
Yet his gospel reeked of brimstone
And I knew him as Conquest,
As He Who Must Possess.
I must confess, he almost tricked me
With how he shone so bright –
How I wanted him to save me,
To hold me in his burning arms!
But the redness of his light did warn me,
And I leapt back just in time
Before he could turn me
Into ashes with his charms.
I have escaped from Conquest,
That fiend with angel’s skin
Like a tide shrouding a shore.
Heed me, do not pray to passion,
Or you’ll fall prey to his war!
Pray instead to peaceful gods,
To They Who Don’t Control,
And he will have no power,
He will not confound your soul.
When a misogyny of men catcalls her
telling her to smile,
she obliges and flashes her fangs.
They scatter, but
she has dragons in her eyes
and fire in her lips,
she slices their dicks
with a flick of her sharpened
self-esteem. She feeds
on their fear, and now they know
she is carnivorous.
Now they know
she is the murmuration
of a collective, synchronized wrath,
she is made
from the microaggressions
of a thousand unsolicited erections,
the evolutionary apex
of all those who came before,
who cooked and cleaned and raised
the next generation of oppression,
she is the ascension of discretion -
wrath, unapologetically -
and she is all our futures,
should we decide to set her free.
I’m losing belief in what used to be fact,
what used to be immutable, unmovable law,
like finding out gravity is a sham,
and up the apple tree I fall.
When religion rivaled Newton
and holding up my hands equaled proof,
bowing my head was a confirmation,
easy and simple, leading to truth.
Losing belief holds a special heartbreak,
it’s the loss of a childhood and the filter of fathers,
no longer seeing dimly, seeing the fake,
I’m liberal if I try to give out some water,
while they go on about Living Water, they’re blind,
they don’t see the foreigner, the cardboard signs
they don’t see the fourteen-year-old child,
they only see the child inside her.
They say, ‘give hope to the world,’
but then they shout, and they shame and destroy her,
and they don’t even know her.
I’m losing belief in proclamations,
when they turn to whisper behind their hands.
Hard to believe it’s the fault of Satan,
when these people of God mock the pain of the broken,
of those who live on stamps and not on stocks.
It’s hard to believe that they believe what they say,
when property seems more important than, say,
a life of someone with midnight skin,
or the life of someone in transition,
or the life of anyone who’s not like them,
anyone’s shoes they haven’t walked in,
anyone’s tragedy they haven’t trudged in.
Like how homelessness begets itself,
like how medical bills steal all hope of help,
I’m losing belief in those that say, “God is good,”
and then sneer at the ones God hasn’t been good to,
at the ones slipping through the cracks
like it’s their fault they haven’t been blessed—
no rest. I’m losing sleep,
I’m losing grip on my belief,
though I hold tight to the Word that says,
visit the prisoners, and be kind to the foreigner,
this law stays true, though the people get colder.
The Type of Tea That Stays
Something about tea with honey, that soothing coat
layered over a raw throat, with tones of apricot,
they didn’t know they needed such a balm
until the barista smiled.
They are a thermos, all they want
is to hold this warmth inside themselves
throughout the freezing days,
for when the lady walking her dog
casts her chilling gaze over their squared jaw
paired with heels, for when the hiring manager
narrows his discretion at the same time as his eyes,
and their sob scrapes over their throat.
When they can’t get through the day,
and they might not get through the day,
not without another try at another note to say
what they might do just to escape the grating,
the grinding down of presenting.
That is when they call to mind that restful time
when the barista handed them a drop
of kindness in a cup, an elixir of honey and apricot,
and the ingredients of that smile!
Something about tea with honey
warmed through their soul,
soothing the abrasions in their throat.
The memory stays with them even now,
still warm—that someone saw and accepted them
not just as presenting—but as present,
as taking their rightful place in the current,
getting them through another day
with the type of tea that stays and stays.
Emmie Christie’s work includes practical subjects, like feminism and mental health, and speculative subjects, like unicorns and affordable healthcare. She has been published in various short story markets including Daily Science Fiction, Infinite Worlds Magazine, and Flash Fiction Online. She graduated from the Odyssey Writing Workshop in 2013.