ELSPETH BY NIVIA-NATALIA FRIAS

Tiny, gold crucifixes dangle from the earlobes


of a child who recites faithless,


yet faintly fearful prayers.


Shell-shocked, white-haired child.




Just as sleep tugs at the heels of her feet,


she kicks it back and pulls her never-dreaming soul


away from its heavy elixir.


Palms clasped,


she prays,


off-script,




“Oh, Wailing woman, my patron saint,


Bless me with your shrieking gift.


Grant me permission to break plates,


to burst my eardrums.


My lungs aren’t big enough


and I wish to scream.”