May the Circle be Unbroken At nineteen, I learned I couldn’t hold anything in my hands. Even my heart sat on sinews, waiting for directions from my soul, waiting for my bones to call it beautiful. When I took my whole heart to a holy space, I reached for a long, slender door handle, installed by hands I never touched. The grey-green slate seemed impenetrable until I put one sandaled foot in front of the other, stepping on well- worn stones. The absent voices stored in the wood beckoned me. In this sustained, constrained-open place, I knew the high triangular ceilings would catch me if I faltered. God stirred together a strange alchemy, wrapping me in warmth while hushing me in awe. My fingers gripped the rosary I received at Confirmation with its black obsidian beads. All the way around, ten to a set, I held each bead between index and thumb, saying one Hail Mary after another into reverie. Fingers on black beads; atom on atom—there’s still space between everything we touch.
Jessica Mattox is a PhD student in English at Old Dominion University and an adjunct English professor. In addition to writing poetry, she is passionate about the teaching and learning of technical/professional communication and first-year composition. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Last Leaves Magazine, The Album at Hollins University, Exit 109 at Radford University, and others. In addition, her academic scholarship has been published in the Virginia English Journal.