I am a bad Christian, born and raised—
a circumstantial church-goer, on hiatus.
I call my grandmother from the library bathroom on Easter.
She tells me He has risen and I pause.
Truly, she reminds me, and I finish her sentence: He has risen.
I stumble over my Russian syllables and laugh through the excuse that
I only say these things once a year, to her.
She laughs, too, because it is silly—how clumsily obvious I am.
I do not tell her that I know she knows.
With my silence, I try to remind her that
I am not a lost cause—
that I think in votive candles, and behind my eyes sit dim lights
kept upright by their own melting wax,
or that I bought incense for my room, which smells sticky and warm.
But none of this is relevant. She already knows that I
gave my icon to the Goodwill and mispronounce my prayers.
There is no proper way to tell her that
religion does not belong in the bottom drawer,
under a stack of old papers. So I say
I will speak to her soon, instead.
Lilly Milman, a Russian-American from Long Island, is a senior Writing, Literature, and Publishing student at Emerson College in Boston. She is an associate editor of The Deli Magazine and the music director of Cliché Magazine. Her poetry has been published in Dirty Paws Poetry Review and Ink&Nebula Magazine.