To Kneel

like a red and empty shirt
pinned wet to a clothesline
my mother
only seventeen
as she hands her father her belt
knowing its buckle will bite
the brown and black
off her back and leave broken
skin and bruises
the color and size
of jocotes
en miel her knees sink
as they had done a week prior
before her maker
into a suelo more like cielo
as she explains her conversion
to another gospel and commandment
hugging her libro de mormon
unable to read or know
anything other than the truth
it burned through her belly
she trembles before the sun battered
arms of her catholic father
her chest beating with something
i cannot call fear

know this
is how i love
if i ever kneel
down before you
as if in prayer



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