January 7, 2015

Leslie Marie Aguilar

BATHTUB BAPTISM

I know I’m having an episode when I dip my toes into lukewarm bathwater only to take a step backwards for fear of drowning. Instead, I choose to weave anxiety angels into the living room carpet with my arms & legs. They are exiles of a body I don’t recognize, & I worry that uneasiness stems from adolescence & cooking with hot canola oil too often. At night, I dream of marrying a younger version of my sweetheart, who doesn’t look anything like my sweetheart, & come to think of it isn’t my sweetheart at all. It’s strange, like developing a longing for country music or lemonade in clear cups. When it’s time to walk down the aisle, in my dream, it’s a grocery aisle, & I’m holding a bottle of wine as a bouquet before someone stops me to ask, Why are you crying? Before I can answer, I wake up & find myself counting calories on cereal boxes. The vacancy in my bowl is like a field of sunflowers planted in the shade of a pecan tree, & I’m a skeleton of steel turned to rust over a bathtub, waving my foot over water in surrender.

from Rattle #45, Fall 2014
Tribute to Poets of Faith

[download audio]

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Leslie Marie Aguilar: “As a Catholic, faith has been an integral part of my life since a very young age. However, this is not to say that belonging to such a rigid religion has been easy. As a result, many of my poems have religious overtones that discuss the mind and body in terms of ritualization. Now for a parable: I used to be a member of my church choir, but ultimately gave up on Sunday morning rehearsals so I could sit in a pew next to my sweetheart during the liturgy. In an effort to reconcile my identity as both parishioner and partner, I convinced myself I was slowly converting my significant other to Catholicism. So far I have been unsuccessful, but he says he is coming around to the idea. Moral of the story: My poems stem from a similar desire to reconcile faith and servitude. Thus far, the poems have been easier to convince.” (website)