20201231_075103_edited.jpg

Poem-A-Week

Penitence
Leonora Simonovis

Sister Dolores asks me 

to put dirt on my face, 

 

a mouth full of it. 

He will punish us 

 

girls if we wear 

our skirts too short 

 

and let the boys see. 

But she also lets us 

 

eat His body in tiny 

pieces, broken like our 

 

futures will be if we let 

anyone touch us. 

 

Sister Dolores talks

about three people 

 

within Him. I ask her 

if he has a disorder.

 

He will strike you if you

question His word. 

 

So I challenge Him 

to strike me down 

 

for lying and cursing 

and flirting with boys. 

 

But I’m still here. 

A bad girl unlike 

 

Belén, who played 

Mary in our living 

 

nativity, blessed the fruit 

of her tiny womb, blond 

 

haired and blue eyed, 

named after the city 

 

where He was born. 

Pray for your sins 

 

Sister Dolores says. 

I fall asleep listening 

to the sound of my own voice.

LeoPhoto.jpg

Leonora Simonovis (she/her/ella) is a Latinx writer and educator who grew up in Caracas, Venezuela, and currently lives in San Diego, CA. She teaches literature and creative writing in Spanish at the University of San Diego, has an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University, Los Angeles, and is a contributing editor for Drizzle Review. Her poetry manuscript Study of the Raft was the winner of the 2021 Colorado Prize for Poetry and her work has appeared in Gargoyle Magazine, Diode Poetry Journal, The Rumpus, Arkansas International, Inverted Syntax, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, and Kenyon Review blog, among others.