by Whitney Rios-Ross


Heavenly Father, I make of myself
            an offering. My God—or demon,

I don’t much care—let me call you
            Lord and obey. Scrape me clean and hollow.

Tell me what will perish and what will
            keep. I have no interest in why,

only don’t let me get it wrong.
            Enslave me to your unflinching clarity.

And I beg of you, tempt me with all
            but what I need. Anoint my head

with inflammable oil and mark my days
            decent enough. May you overpower

but not consume. Otherwise, if all
            blood will one day freeze and lungs

collapse, drain and gag me early.       
            Let us call that love.


WHITNEY RIO-ROSS is the author of the chapbook Birthmarks (Wipf & Stock) and poetry editor of Fare Forward. Her poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in New SouthPresence JournalEarth & Altar, Relief Journal, and elsewhere. She lives with her husband in Nashville, TN.


Photo: “Wax Lamps” by Denish C