Moon Wash Me Clean


In Sunday school

I raised my hand

Why was it that

We were so much more upset

By pharaoh’s idol gods

Than by the slavery he kept?

The wrath of a Sunday school teacher

Is like a horse in a bit.

At least she is restrained

At least her clenched hand

Cannot hit.

“What a foolish question

Can’t you see the two are linked?”

No, in fact, I can’t–

Weren’t the antebellum slavers

All Christian in their day?

“Go play in the corner.

I’ll not have you be

So disruptive to this class.”

Even then they hated

Smart-ass little girls.


Never welcomed back to Sunday school

Grandma took me to mass

Where I ate stale bread

And better sips

Of even more biter wine.

“Have you accepted Jesus yet

In your hollow heart?”

Yes, I have

But they eye me up and down

As though I’ve built

Only of lies, no flesh nor blood.

“If you haven’t

You needn’t be ashamed.”

But I have — I have

And the other girl said

“Not good enough”

While the pastor did not stay her tongue.

So bow my head and pray again

Know I now I am not goo enough.

I’ll be hating myself and praying hard

Forever more.


As though they knew

I didn’t belong

Long before I knew myself:

Longing to be baptised

No prayer would do me good.

A sinful and unworthy girl

More an Eve than Mary

I wanted to be washed clean.

“Why do you want to be baptized?”

And predictable as the sun–

“Not good enough.

Stand by and watch

As truer sons of god

Are bathed.”


Well then

So fickle in love does Jesus seem to be

And all I’m craving is

The kind of love you know can’t drown.

A miserable wretch as I?

Undeserving of such love, I became

Convinced Jesus couldn’t want the likes of me

A girl — a girl — living in sin in her mind

All lust-filled and rage

What a thing the Christ hates.

Bow your head.

There’s nothing more to be said.


But the Moon — the Moon would find me there

Head bowed, and lift my chin.

O how, and now, she filled me with silver moonlight–

And so by candlelight said I

Farewell to Christ fickle and all his little people

While the moon came to bathe me

And in her silver be reborn–

Washed in that circle

Cleaner than a baptism.

“Now you’ll have to work

On yourself

Chip away the hatred

That’s been bread into you.

Save yourself from

The poison that’s been laced in your head.”

I was never meant for the Christians.

Just another of their victims

Resurrected by a Goddess

They curse.


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