4th Mid-Week Advent

Poetry collection

Hannah appeals to the case manager
I’ll do anything. anything.
Please. I’m a good mom already. Please. I can be a great mom.
I’ll take your classes or whatever. I can be a mom. Look,
can he stay at one of those temporary places
in case they change their mind? They don’t even know him yet.
Who said that? I haven’t touched a drink.
Who said that? Those church ladies don’t know me.
I say my prayers. I prayed for this baby.

I’ve been praying for this baby.
They’re a nice family, I know, that’s not the point. I know.
I’ve met them. I was in a bind, and I needed money
but he’s here now. I know what I said. I changed my mind. Please, just,
let it be an open one. I can’t disappear completely until eighteen.
I’m not a ghost. I have nothing to hide.
I could still do supervised visits,
right? Well,
then tell me how it works.

I didn’t know him then. You know what?
Only God is my judge.
He raises the poor from the dust
and I never promised him anything.
I’m not signing anything else.
please. just let me name him.

Court Orders
He was little for so little
He wasn’t hers for long

Hannah’s Prayer
She scrolls.
She knows it’s a bad idea
but she can’t control her fingers.

Happy Mother’s Day!

God gave me you!

Celebrating the Best!

Remember to be inclusive in your language
this year: Adoptive Mothers are
Real Mothers!

She asks God,
What am I to you?

Maiden yet a mother
She knew
sitting in the pew
there is no way this is the whole story.
Just as Mary pondered all the joys in her heart,
secretly, she knew
she held the grief too, somewhere.
Maybe in her hair
when she dyed it three days after seeing those two thin lines
hoping no one would recognize her in the halls at school.
When she told her cousin
they both felt something like excited scrolling through cute outfits online,
getting quiet passing the ones that make passes at the father, daddy’s little monster.
When she threw up in the girl’s bathroom
after feeling the first kick, Liz told her she would do anything for her,
they’d carry it together. She’d get her pickles or whatever from 7/11 at midnight. But,
at ShopRite, someone in the aisle whispered
“Look at these babies having babies,” and she overheard it.
Mary didn’t feel obedient or decent. Just asked Liz
in the drive-through,
Should I keep it?

This is the Image of the Queen
She puts on old sweatpants from her bedroom floor
A note on the counter: I’m working a double tonight—
Mom. Hunched over her phone eating leftovers at 9pm
she looks at her old nudes on her phone
wonders if she’ll be that size again.

She misses her mom.
She avoided her this morning.
She always told her to be different than she was.

A Message Came to the Young Maiden
She weighs herself, lays in bed, stares at her phone until
she’s in the front of the line at the clinic. You enter
not straight file but
descending from the sky,
from a ladder. She looks around and she looks like everyone or
everyone looks like her. Then, they look at her. She
she feels their gaze start on her stomach and go through her
into a circle as they surround her. There are four
women, only four women, but they are behind each door.
She starts hearing silence
so she knows they are screaming. The doors turn to paper.
She tries moving but she can’t. She tries speaking but she can’t
but she can’t. She tries screaming and she can. So she screams
and screams and screams
until its so quiet it smells like ink
running down the doors
saying something about them,
all of them, but

she wakes up in bed.

She fell asleep with her makeup on again.

Mother of Mercy, Day by Day
the idea she hates comes back
again when she’s in algebra 2
it first came when
between anxious waking and sleeping
she thought she heard an angel screaming

in a lukewarm car she nods off,
the temperature of womb, she thinks
the heat from her temple melts the snow
on the bottom corner of the car window
and she feels something in her melting too
in her lap, the condensation from her large dr. pepper
creates a ring around the crotch of her ex-boyfriend’s sweatpants
she never gave back

it feels cold on her thigh
as it soaks into her skin
something inside soaks in
a belief in angels maybe
or the god that is supposed to send one if you are
sufficiently desperate
when you’ve made yourself a fool crying in public
in a church you went to cause you’d thought he’d hear you there
when everyone stares
thinks its drugs and drinks
I guess you look that out of place
when you pray
you look so pathetic

she feels so afraid that maybe
that is what she heard screaming last night
but she can’t remember what was being screamed
and that feels vital to knowing if it was god
or her neighbor having another fight with his wife
and the memory starts passing by her
like heat from opening an oven door

she would have believed him no matter what he told her
she thinks, even though she wouldn’t have seen that angel
because she heard, you usually don’t recognize them
she would have known it was real by what came back
by her posture
but nothing is there
and she slouches while her puff coat becomes dense as well as warm
full of lead and heavy on her chest like those vests at the dentist before they xray
to check if your mouth is crooked or decaying,
those things you bite always leave you bleeding
and the next morning there is still no bleeding, and she wishes she could see inside her
she wishes she had a nurse say, don’t be afraid in her ear
but there is no glitter left on the floor, no alleluia lingering in the air
just a glimpse of light in the window
drops of dew on the glass
and stiffness in her low back
like she wrestled a man in her sleep or had something stuffed in her stomach

At Bethlehem She Bore Her Son
there is a bright light over her head that won’t stop shining

when she was a little girl
she created her own ecosystem in a plastic bottle
she watched a cloud form and thought she could create anything
if she learned how

now, she is holding a boy
and that boy is biting her boobs
and she feels disposable
like all of the milk cartons she tossed in the trash
didn’t even rinse to recycle
she feels something like love, but it feels so little
and she thinks this isn’t as wondrous as her 3rd grade
science class
she doesn’t have a hypothesis of how this applies
of how her body follows the rules of all bodies
like how her bottle clouds followed the rules of other clouds in the sky
there are no clouds outside her window
there is no window
just bright fluorescent lights that won’t stop burning her scalp
and nurses coming in her room
saying he is so beautiful, he
is so beautiful, he will change you in ways you can’t imagine

Brooke Matejka (she/her) is a 4th-year graduate student at Princeton Seminary, focusing her studies on gender, sexuality and theology. She learned a love for poetry and creative prose at Missouri State University, where she studied religion and creative writing. She is interested in exploring questions of the sacred through creative processes in community. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys what she considers the basic trio of a good time: live music, a good film, and a meal with friends.

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