Coexist: A Holy Sonnet

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By SARA JANSSON
Academy of American Poets Prize Runner-Up

I only considered myself blessed
By you, unchaste.
I stopped believing in God the day you fucked a born-again Christian.
(Haven’t they deemed that the ultimate sin?)

For every looping fish that says “Jesus” on the bumper of a car,
All I see are
You two tangled in the backseat,
Her crying out for God, now I am incomplete

How could you invest so much in your religious rites
To turn around and do what you condemn?
If she asks, she’ll be absolved, this she believes.
How anyone could sleep peacefully at night

—So long as God will forgive them—
Is beyond me.