Issue Three: Tonya Eberhard

When, How

Before the evening meal:
chicken, rice, grilled mango
charred diagonal stripes on
yellowed juicy skin.

Just as the thunderstorm rolled
into scorching heat

A voice read each letter aloud
under hot whirls of a ceiling fan
so no lines would be skipped,
no words could be missed.

After writing out each letter
that formed words that created
a letter. Trying to capture the
feeling behind every stroke of the
English alphabet—

Everything in life an
I don’t know
A lightning bolt with no telling
where it would strike next

During dinner
too shy to pick the chicken carcass clean
as knives and forks scrapped
across ceramic plates

After the sign of the cross was said

Good Friday

At nine o’clock the gummy bears were baptized in vodka.
Night was a baby barely out of the cradle. Oh, Eucharist,
Holy Communion taken with mascara wands and eye shadow
palettes in hand. Rap music, pre-gaming shots shooting down
the throat, hot and startling. Jesus Christ, you take forever
and
a goddamn day to get ready. Squeals running out to the
parking lot, passing the boys smoking, poisoning their lungs
with toxic inhales outside the dormitory. The sinners who
wanted to bite the coffin wood early. Static blasting in the
car. Speeding to the top of the hill, tires screeching over
patches of ice. The party was glamorous—beer pong out
on the balcony, white circles floating on alcoholic ponds.
Chug. Chug. Chug. Goes the music. Hookah pipe passed around,
chalice of Christ’s blood as vaporized smoke. A conversion.
A change. Indeed you will drink from this cup. The flesh
and blood was real. It was all Resurrection until two disciples
left the apartment. There was a winter coat stirred by the wind,
talk of broken families, fruitless prayers to the dead.
Unrequited attraction, a tempting offer only the other had
to consent to, to make complete. Finally, the truth: It was all a
story about memories that were never made, a salvation that
was only granted to those who stole it for their own.

Tonya Eberhard‘s work has appeared in Algebra of Owls, The Commonline Journal, Dirty Chai, Yellow Chair Review, Open Minds Quarterly, among others.

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