“The Church in Auvers-sur-Oise,” oil on canvas, by Vincent van Gogh, 1890.

Dirty Charm

My grandparents know your
grandparents, that’s the size
of the town we were born
to work with. Grandpa used
to tell me your family was pagan,
and that your momma was birthed
during a moonshine delivery
blessed with horned owls instead
of holy water. I was trained to run past
you, for the church to hold my sins,
and Jesus to hold my underwear.
Fed on a diet of mudbugs, hand caught
catfish, and boiled red potatoes, only
the church and I will know you taste
of grass stains and cloves. Your soul
summoned into being through ancient
rituals performed at midnight under
clear skies, ram’s horns lit in fire overhead.

And that’s it.

Today I was told
I was going to hell
for entwining my
tongue in the mouth
of another woman
and I wondered
if when you die
God checks
to make sure
your fingers never
stroked a member
of the same sex
or if you only
got on your knees
for the Almighty
on Sundays or
if He goes through
every cent you ever
spent to double check
you never supported
Planned Parenthood.
What if when
you die God twists
your muddied soul
from your eyes
and kneads it in holy
water, running it
down a ribbed
washboard until
it flows like
between his fingers
and shimmers like
crystal opal?


Meaghan Andrews is a poet from Georgia about to depart to Chongqing, China to teach English as a foreign language. She believes travel and experience help to create better writing. She has been previously published in Nine Mile Magazine, The Round, Feminine Inquiry, and others.