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Surround the Sins and Eat Them

By Tanya Castro

There is always one side of the door that doesn’t open.

I twist the knob to check what side I’m on.

I give up and sit on my knees in darkness.

Does it feel the same for you as it does for me?

My hands practice prayer. It has been a while.

When was the last time you prayed?

I had forgotten what it feels like for the body to burst into love,

and watch it escape through the crack of the door.

Then you close the door. Why did you?

The night illuminated by prayer is what?

A sense of security comes from a lock and key

but today it comes from my hands.

Do you repent?

I confess my sins to the wall beside the door

and watch the darkness surround the sins

and eat them ‘til I am left with grief.

If you had any intention of opening the door,

throw away the key,

and let me tremble in my confessions as I’m about to perform

a communion in the booth where at fifteen I was forced

to lock myself in claustrophobia

and ask for forgiveness. It was easily given to me.

Aren’t you given enough to take from?

And so I believe what my father has always told me.


Tanya Castro is a writer from Oakland, California. She holds an MFA in Poetry from Saint Mary’s College of California. Tanya’s work is a Best of Microfiction 2022 winner as well as nominated for Best of the Net 2021. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Acentos Review, Lost Balloon, and Mason Jar Press.


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