I told my friend the other day,
Your God is a miser,
Stingy with a small black heart
Dark and wrinkled like a raisin
No, even a dried fruit is too plump.
Inside His chest it is dark and hard like charcoal.
Isn’t it the way we were raised—
Pulled up from our boot straps
Spanked, shoved around.
I get it…I get it.
Its why I can take so much.
But something in me has snapped.
Like a belt cracking over my backside.
I can take it but don’t want to.
Does anyone really think we were set down
On this world only to be told,
You’re not worthy,
Not good enough.
And yet this is what we tell our selves
Inside our chests, our small beating hearts
Hardening like wood.
ADELE SLAUGHTER’S FIRST BOOK OF poems, What The Body Remembers, was published by Story Line Press in 1994. Her poems have appeared in The Virginia Quarterly Review, Confrontation, Everyday Genius and other magazines. In 2011 she completed Poetry Project 365, writing a poem a day for one year.