Churched

By JESS RICHARDS

image of heart on slate

Divided Heart: painting on slate, Jess Richards 2014.

 

Wellington, New Zealand

Stained light shines on breath-less angels
who occupy a stone heaven-on-earth without living for touch
without having felt another human enfolding them against soil.
Only the winged can lift themselves so high
but freeze half-way to the clouds
locked in cold bodies, solo-flight paused.
A position of clasping and gazing only up or down—
they must pray and kill with those clean slab-hands
while alongside them are people they can’t even see.
Inside a stone book with block-pages there are so many lists:
how many new orphanages are to be built
how many fresh graves are to be dug.
And how many humans claim their coldest decisions belong to god
while secretly yearning for the warmth of a hollow womb.

 

Jess Richards is the author of three novels: Snake Ropes, Cooking with Bones, and City of Circles, all published by Sceptre in the UK. She also writes short fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry; many of these have been published in various anthologies. She is currently working on a creative nonfiction project on the theme of birds and ghosts. Originally from Scotland, Jess now lives in Wellington, New Zealand, with her wife and two cats.

Churched

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