In her poem, “Revelation,” Clark Writes Editor-in-Chief Jessica Hoops explores various dimensions of vulnerability and identity as she artfully recounts the time of her religious confirmation and proclamation of faith. Similar to her award-winning poem “Ash Wednesday,” this second installment of “The Vulnerability Series” is rich with biblical allusions like “…but whose shadow bore the horns of a lamb. / By my fruit they would recognize me” (Revelation 13:11-12, Matthew 7:15-20), a profound use of scripture that serves to reveal (as the title suggests) how the speaker wrestles with spiritual insincerity and the fear of it being exposed. The speaker “[conceals] the shattered pieces of halo in [her] mouth,” gives “offerings [that] had been cultivated in soil rich with resentment, pulled from [her] branches coated in dewy tears of guilt,” and attempts to keep the “mold blooming beneath” her testimony’s “unblemished skin” unexposed. Read “Revelation,” and explore the ways in which Hoops uncovers her own vulnerability through her experience as the speaker, for it is truly a masterpiece.
I was their false prophet, a weed that sprouted
from the cracked foundation of the Church;
contained within its walls, made to grow
where I was not meant to be planted.
I tried in vain to absorb the dim light
that filtered through stained-glass windows,
and soaked up holy water that neither
killed nor could truly sustain me.
I put down roots in the baptismal font,
wrapped leafy tendrils up the legs of a baby grand,
and began to blossom as I ascended the pulpit.
There, I unfolded crimson petals,
becoming a being who resembled the Holy Spirit,
but whose shadow bore the horns of a lamb.
By my fruit they would recognize me.
I concealed the shattered pieces of my halo in my mouth,
said my prayers, felt the shards slice my tongue.
My offerings had been cultivated in soil rich with resentment,
pulled from my branches coated in dewy tears of guilt.
Not one glistening orb in this harvest exposed the mold
blooming beneath its unblemished skin.
“Amen,” I said, swallowing the blood that had filled my mouth,
as my disciples prepared to devour my Last Supper.
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