X, Y & Z go to Chapel

By Madeline Vardell

Every Wednesday, before lunch and post-Algebra,

they wipe the red gloss from their lips and put

the Lord in their white socks and shiny black patent

Mary Janes: a billow of plaid-striped corduroy.

In the text: ATTRACTION. It is not the only

word. In connection with God, their teachers

are among the victims. How nice to think to place

money from the parents before the altar, for our

pain. They find it hard to sit on wooden benches;

their heads mourn the luxurious cushions.

Between the girls there is silent rivalry for God

as he pours miracle cream under sad eyes.

And they are devoted. Sex, mystery and communion

wine. Inside bibles they stash trashy novels.

But they do believe in threes. Their trillium is the only

one appealing. Lord Savior, they are bored

out of their gourds, twisting to pass the time

with legs crossed. They fidget against

the pew for its stimulation. God becomes

the reduction of the impeccable body.


Madeline Vardell is an MFA candidate at New Mexico State University and the winner of the 2013 Kay Murphy Prize in Poetry, selected by Lara Glenum. Her poems have recently appeared in Bayou Magazine, Rhino, [PANK], and Whiskey Island. She lives in Mesilla, New Mexico.