Online Issue 25

Heaven Is Anywhere You Are My Sister by Julia Armstrong



after Max Ritvo and Claire Yoo


Virginia, I think God is in your moving.


As you go from room to room,

you trace holy lines like streaks of neon,


so bright my teeth ache.


Sometimes when you leave a place,

it’s like you’ve siphoned


all the grace from the air

and taken it with you.


Virginia, I think heaven is a clay city

safe within the gates of your brassiest laugh,


the one you hate,

the one I can’t live without. (I want


to walk towards it even now, remembering.)


There is no way to say I love you

without it feeling like a curse, as if I were


to drop the soft, shapeless bladder

of a rotting plum into your open palm.


Still, this remains a love poem. I speak to you

from the fruit’s darkest bruise.


Virginia, this is my milk-and-honey prayer

to the God in you: when people see us,


let them tell us what they think we could be.

May they always mistake us


for the thing we are not.