Couplets for the United States in 2020 (Charlotte VanWerven)

Make a cathedral of 2020 and
I’ll show up to confess 

I didn’t vote in 2016. I’ve never
said that out loud. Fuck, I’ve never

said that to anyone. My penance 
is to forgive myself, and 

that will have to be enough.
Make a cathedral of 2020 and

I’ll recite my lamentations, I’ll
gather kneecap carpet imprints

at the altar. I will 
participate in the liturgy of 

community and drink in
remembrance of those we’ve lost.

Here is a sanctuary for sadness.
Here it is okay to feel betrayed.

Baptize me in humanity and
I’ll remind you what it means

to love your neighbor. Shit, I’ll
remind you what it means to 

have a neighbor. Meet me
here, six feet away, and I will 

ask you to help me raise hymns
to the Earth, to lay palms at her feet.

Make a cathedral of 2020 and
I’ll make 

each act of defiance 
a Holy sacrament. 


Charlotte VanWerven lives in the pacific northwest and regularly conspires with the cloudy weather. Most of her inspiration comes from insomnia and weird shapes she finds in her bedroom ceiling. Her work has appeared in Into the VoidEastern Iowa ReviewGold Man ReviewThe HelixColumbia College Literary Review, and others. Twitter: Instagram:


image: Alan Tenhoeve