Sacrament of Girl – a poem by Angelica Whitehorne

Sacrament of Girl

childhood is clean cotton sheets, a girl in one piece
lying underneath, wind breathes and sheets roam,
but girl stays, keeps herself inside herself, her mother’s
redemption, all the mothers’ unyielding relief

there will be no heart strings left on
a man’s starched sleeve, not this time, not yet,
such careful strategies, the lord was splayed out
for man’s sins, but hers would be left unfinished,

unrecognized, buried deep,
unwelcomed if risen,

innocence is a loan, debt comes
as a confession, she was taught early
on how to fall to her knees by the men
in vestments, take sacrament.

repenting for curious hands, for
the peck to the boy’s mouth corner,
and for her sacred, tempting existence
so very necessary, but still a nuisance.

body, carrier pigeon, the messages as violent
as biblical, possibly synonyms, girls as birds,
all breast and clipped wings, locked away,
loaded onto, bred miracles through,

silent as the night they were born into,
translucent as the ghosts they’ll turn into.

but imagine this time, women write the book, don’t barter
for another white, daisy day, don’t asked to be saved,
this time she becomes her own religion, centuries old,
fresh as fruit off the tree, a new creation story.

off the alter, arms released from carrying, eyes alert
and hair uncovered, unrepentant in the breeze,
this time choosing what grows inside,

this time the men on their knees, this time
she flies without testimony tied to her avian feet.


Angelica Whitehorne is a recent college graduate who writes for the Development department of a refugee organization in New York. At home she writes her poetry and stories with her 10 plants as backdrop and her future on her tongue. She has forthcoming work in the Magnolia Review, Crack the Spine, and Breadcrumbs Magazine.


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