i. a poisonous habit you’ve created.

there was never a dark moment
     living in the attic of a church
   and the sermons are uplifting
        when the owls are asleep

     Ysolde’s toes hung over the rafters
   while the Father spoke, chuckling to herself
          parents brushed off the peripheral glimpses
        their children telling stories of cheeky ghosts

catch me if you can
         she whispered in their ear,
       their bibles thumping to the floor
     howling as she ran behind the altar

        but when the doors closed for the evening,
    she sits in the offices of the priests,
            humming a song her mother sang
                 once upon a time

a treacle for a child
            if they are behaved
          a flower for their bosom
            if they can’t be saved

   the pacing wore holes in the wood
       the Father couldn’t sleep
     he stood awake, praying for God
                  and she laughed in his dark eyes
              there was no one to answer to but her

save yourself, behave yourself
          you can do neither, only stood beside her


        habits thrown against the door
            while books burned on the shelf

creation in your hands, you begat a monster
           welcome, Father, welcome
       we’re here to burn together

                   a flower would rest on his bosom,
              not hers.

Prompt: Poisonous

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