Header artwork by Sugar Smallhouse

gabrielle hogan

PORTRAIT OF THE MADONNA IN SCHOOL CAFETERIA

how she hangs in the balance between
divine incarnation & a bowl of soggy tater tots.

our mother, who art here with us, a mournful
almost-deity ensconced in puke-anointed brick.

i find myself tracing the grooves in her dress
with my kiss—gratitude for carrying the christ child

in the jelly of her womb. though she is sapphired
in these pale blues befitting a holy mother,

though her collar stained with wine-flush glows,
this worship seems unbelievably hollow—exalted

among uniformed children who don’t even care
about the stickiness of their hands. i wonder

if she ever thought when the archangel inseminated her
in his own blessed way, that this

is how they would thank her. i wonder if she was promised
fanfare & silks & a temple to lay in when she

wanted sleep & nothing more—i wonder if this
is why she said yes. because of a promise he

never meant to keep. if man is indeed made in
god’s image, should she be surprised to find herself

as object, catacomb for man’s birthright to a woman’s
body—should she be surprised that between

her legs is the glory of god, but that the only
way to find it is to stay virgin? eve’s hunger

for something more was what struck her down
in the end & birthed from a simple no did lilith become

queen of the demons. but yet he took so much
from faithful sarai, didn’t even let her keep her

name, & she told him yes. did god tell our holy mother
he loved her before or after she said

thy will be done? my hands forgive hers
for lingering in deathless prayer on the brick wall & i

think it’s what your god won’t tell you
that should be the stuff of bibles.


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Gabrielle Hogan is a queer lady poet from St. Louis, Missouri. Her work deals with issues such as womanhood, religion, and family, and has been published by or is forthcoming in Diverse Arts Project Journal, The Fem, Academy of American Poets, and others. She is currently pursuing her undergraduate degree at Bradley University. She can be found at gabriellegracehogan.tumblr.com, or on Instagram @Gabigail97