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By: Maddie Almquist

By Maddie AlmquistPublished 4 years ago 2 min read

When I still believed in you I felt my spirit moved and tormented by you,

My knees greeted the floor like an old friend in that dark room,

Illuminated by hundreds of candles carried in a procession of lies,

Crying out into nothing like a wretched soul reaching for new life in the river of death.

I wept with imagined misery, pain that I did not know how to feel,

Uncomprehending of pain that ran so deep into me that my bones felt uncomfortable in my skin,

My heart leapt from my chest like a fish leaps back into the ocean,

terror ripping through every cell,

sinking rapidly away from the holy light which breaches the surface,

treading dangerously into the depths that hold unimaginable horror,

Anything to escape the fisherman’s net, which glides like a beast through the water,

Gathering followers to choke on oblivion, flopping helplessly into nothing,

No golden fishbowl that nurtures you for eternity.

When I still clung onto faith, with sweaty palms slipping down that rope which led to nothing

And yet how would I know,

blindly falling onto ancient words with no meaning and yet hundreds of interpretations,

each one fitting a new narrative

that tells only of hatred that creeps into your skull at night and makes believe you don’t exist

Until you make yourself up again to fit, crammed up, into those spiritless words,

And your soul will beat against your new facade,

hungry for the promised love of those sweet, disgusting words,

and yet knowing it will be an empty love,

A love that calls for you at night and leads you to the stars, only to disappear

and leave you singing softly in despair, following every star back to nothing but

The gates of the pastor’s hell, the one he made for you.

And when I still believed in miracles,

I still believed in you and yet I felt your distance from me,

I felt your presence suffocate your followers and yet drift around me with careful deliberateness.

It was a fire burning the church pews, one by one,

swallowing devout worshippers and delighting in their praise of its warmth,

And yet the flames would scorch the ground around me,

watch indifferently as I choked on broken pleas for mercy,

Like smoke curling in my throat,

these righteous flames

caressed the air and burned me alive without making contact with my repentant body,

Writhing for a single touch of love or faith or devotion.

slam poetry

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