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
cries intentions across language barriers,
slices through whispers of lovers
draped in jasmine and marigolds,
marks a cross over my chest
for manifest heresy.
I have outgrown his face
but am still anointed with the title homewrecker.