The closest i’ll ever get to heaven (permanently

unfinished)

by Mary Mackeen

orange cream popsicle sun rays
melting over the back deck
bare feet ankle deep in ice cream.
we send up unorthodox hymns in the form of
screeched out acoustic covers of 90s one-hit wonders
to say thanks.
I’m surrounded by her, so many hers,
and for a brief second I forget
that God hates me.

in the soft grey-blue space between dusk and night,
i find myself in the smallest chapel in the world.
eight parishioners in a tent only intended to sleep four
we tell stories and share wisdom from the bibles, torahs, and textbooks in our diaries.
i’m surrounded by her, so many hers, and for a long second i forget
that God hates me.

her soft lullabies to no one in particular
flow like spirits around the room,
intoxicating and phantom all at once.
a haunting drunkenness that was never there,
waking up a zombie without a hangover.
and though i sit silently,
if you open my ribs just now you’ll find glowing heartstrings
waiting to be untangled so they can sound the residual note to hum
“Hallelujah!”
grilled cheese and good advice and green flannels and green cars.
i’m surrounded by her, so many hers, and for a second I forget
that God hates me.

when i was younger my brother would take off his socks
and put on a puppet show
whenever i got scraped or bruised.
mom would find us under the stairs
she’d kiss where it hurt
and make everything better.
so i lay down my denim coat of arms for you to walk on,
and i wrap you in my sock puppet arms,
and i’m not sure if you’ve ever noticed but i
kiss the crown of your head.
i’m hoping i can pull out the thorns with my teeth,
because i know it’s your train of thought that’s killing you
quite honestly i’m just praying to a god i’m not sure i believe in at this point that
you don’t jump in front of it.

i’m surrounded by her, just her, and for a second
i forget



+++++++++++++++++++

Mary MacKeen (she/hers):  really into guacamole with cilantro (yes, she'll pay extra). really NOT into the cishet white patriarchy dominating society. firmly believes elle woods should've ended up with vivienne. outdoorsy, indoorsy, sneaking-out-of-back-doorsy. eats orange like apples to compare the parabolically incomparable. proud current owner of a yellow lab named tucker. proud future owner of a siberian husky named juicebox. an iconic bisexual; a bicon, if you will. self-hating narcissist. the smartest idiot you'll ever meet, and the dumbest genius.