I USED TO PRAY by Yuxi Lin

/ / Issue 19, Uncategorized

to any God that made me
feel ashamed. 

Girls are takers,
Mama used to say.

I took every lesson     
she gave me, learned 

to swim out of my body 
& abandon it.

With incense I burned pages
until a perfect eye stared back. 

God drilled a hole to make us see. 
See? Mine is filthy.  

He, too, eyed me 
each day afterschool,   

clutching the line to the lure.
When I walked by 

he’d catch me & groan     
Oh you’ve grown so heavy. 

Like his breath, his fingers 
were meaty & thick.

For years I weighed myself 
then I weighed myself down.

In the water, my scaled body 
lay bent & murky.

Listen — Don’t believe in God 
unless he admits 

he was always watching.
Look back at him. 

If he had my courage
he’d choose to be born 

a daughter. 
What am I begging for? 

I have two mouths. 
One remembers. 

Neither forgives.