Losing My Friends to Religion (or, Prose Poem for Saint Maud)

I expect to lose friends to the Holy Trinity of cancer // car wrecks // time but I never expect it when I lose them to God and all His interpretational designs. As a Bible Belt dweller // evangelical high school survivor // I’ve watched fire fan beliefs that God is listening and I’ve burned all on my own. I’m embers now but I’m not worried about campfires I’m worried about funeral pyres that start as slow burn personality loss. Personal faith to personal poison. “Personal Jesus” to personal disagreements in car rides that start at Point A // old friends // at Point B // someone I don’t know. When a friend wants to play martyr in the desert it’s hard knowing when to stop inviting them out to drinks. Is this the last time they’ll be cool if you smoke // not argue about how you vote // stay calm when you let them know you’re living in sin. I feel the questions linger like bruises on lips // why they chose faith over people // conspiracies over keeping in touch // giving up the world to gain some intangible measurement of purity. But if believing in God makes my friends hurt less // makes this all bearable // then I can detach but what role am I left to play // Job’s wife // sacrificial lamb // the person in your prayers but can’t bother to call back before funerals of mutual friends. 

An MFA graduate from Oklahoma State University, Wyeth Leslie is a poet and author interested in the intersection between technology, the environment, and human relationships. His writings have been featured in publications such as The Vital Sparks, Lost Futures, and Haywire Magazine. He can be found staring into the abyss on Twitter: @Wyeth_was_here

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