to the estate auction’s ready buyers.
The auctioneer shouted for me to cock
the rifle right, so I squeezed my eyes shut--
I didn’t want to see my fingers snaked
around that metal shaft, cold in June heat.
I hate the way men glare: the hot
leer that says they’re either gunning
to get on top of you, or get away. They’ll snake
off to a bar, a strip club, Heaven by
way of mannequin women who’ll shut
up and let them roost as happy cocks.
One Christmas, my sister’s husband cocked
his chin, fired a question that made me hot
with shame. Lips tensed, eyes shut,
I said I’d never heard of Driscoll or his guns-
bared, battle-cry ministry. Better buy
in, I sensed, or be blast out like the snake
from Eden. Not wanting to be the snake-
in-law of the family, I devised a half-cocked
scheme to be the perfect Christian, to buy
my saving grace. The Mars Hill bus was hot:
I found myself among people gunning
to get front-row seats before the doors shut.
Even armed with a plan, I got shot
down. I let a boy, David, snake
into my seat, trusting we’d begun
a real courtship. I was so cocky
to sit beside the purest boy, so hot
with fantasies of our godly ride. We’d buy
matching Bibles, devotionals—buy
happiness, too, so when in prayer I shut
my eyes, I’d feel more than just the heat
of the Holy Spirit. I let pride snake
through me, and David saw that cockiness,
consulted his youth pastor, and shotgunned
my marching orders. He said I’d jumped the gun
and needed to get right with the Lord—cocky
as Adam, blaming Eve for believing the snake.
Alaina Symanovich is a graduate student pursuing her MA in creative writing from Penn State University. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Word Riot, Fogged Clarity, Switchback, Glassworks, Skin to Skin, and other journals.