Bruna Gomes, Going to Church

that one time mary pranked us

knocked up by that fool gabriel
she knocked back another
saved her marriage, saved face for joseph
claimed gabriel was an angel
claimed an entire religion
just to claim her kid
turned it into a career with hours so long
it lasted two millenniums, a mother so saintly
she got her kid into it, a family business
of con artists we all descend from––
still her daughters hide their miracles
still clip their wings and give them away,
still invent entire religions just so men don’t
prey on them, make them pray to them,
towering cathedrals whose underground tombs
hide carcasses of all the secrets
so true they would haunt God
and if there was ever a religion I wanted to follow
it is the one a woman made up.

Going to Church

It does not have to be a Sunday
For me to feel obliged
To the stained-glass insides,

Drawn to the barn when it suits me.
I present me to myself,
Forget the wise men,
Light myself a candle so

Like a lantern,
I glow.

The gospel of my breath echoes,
Resounds against tapestry flesh
My glutes, my pews
My head a choir
My heart the alter––

Every blink is a prayer.

I have veins of wine
Dionysian shrine,
A belly of purple grapes,
My hair drapes over me
Like not what you see in magazines
Like not a haircut but the husk
Of a coconut defending
Creamy blood and tears

Of praise, of holy water
Of forgive me for
I have not sinned
I’ve just broken rules that aren’t mine
Just haven’t listened close enough to

My body, also known as
Ancient temple
Pharaoh’s tomb
Warm womb
Church of worship
Not yours to tamper with,
Holy trinity, also known as
Mind, body, spirit
Girl, daughter, sister
Sun, moon, stars,
Do, not, enter
Unless invited.

I was born in church
I will die in one, too.
When I have issues,
I take it up with God.

She listens.


In ancient Egypt
A priest inserts a metal rod
Up a corpse’s nose
Pulls out the brains
Rinses the skull
With alcohol

After that, they remove
All the other
Organs like the
Lungs and liver and intestines
Fish them out like
Cheap accessories

Leaving the heart
In a corpse
Trembling, wondering
How it will
Cope all on its own in the afterlife
Without a stomach to hold
The butterflies

When I am with you
I feel like
An ancient Egyptian

You embalm me.

Bruna Gomes is an 18-year-old Australian-Brazilian writer. She has received awards from various Sydney-based writing competitions, including winning the senior poetry category of the Mosman Youth Awards in Literature 2020. She recently graduated from high school and is currently completing a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Creative Writing, at Macquarie University.


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