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  • Mina Shanmugalingam

Sunday Morning

By Mina Shanmugalingam he crosses himself three times

on his way out the door,

face flushed with Bud Light

and the acquiescence of my mother’s குங்குமம் (kumkum), sanctified through 20 years of backhands.

into his shield

as he bows at the altar

of his most-hated vice.


we are more alike

than we will ever admit.


burnished with the ire of our namesake,

we bury our sins in each other’s skin.

mark the graves with bruises

that bloom lavender with longing,

hope it will be enough

to stifle the invocation in each other’s eyes

with holy ash

and sacrificial flame.


when our hands do not absolve us

we turn to knives.


the keening of butcher’s blade

against whetstone

cries intentions across language barriers,

slices through whispers of lovers

draped in jasmine and marigolds,

marks a cross over my chest

claiming vindication

for manifest heresy.


I have outgrown his face

but am still anointed with the title homewrecker.



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