Rachel Custer

If I Tell You I Love A Woman

can church music still sway in the hard pew of my heart

necessary as a thumb  when it comes to holding things
like a hymnal or a rough woman’s soft hand

& can I still love  country music and men
with strong arms & the cheap beer beading their dark
beards while nighttime is still half a day away

the truth sits white and nestled against an eight ball
somewhere in a county with no downtowns yes I touch
my lips to my lover’s lips and rapturing through me

a cry you might rightly name fire and yes I come
filthy to the eyes of God denying myself
has never been my particular gift and it is true

that I have stopped looking for crosses  on which to hoist
my body   being honestly mostly too sore to climb

but if I tell you I’m gay and alone here on the abandoned
farm of myself  will you prepare me a dish

& will you knock softly and call me neighbor
& will you lift a hot bite to my opening lips?


About the writer:
Rachel Custer is the Poetry Editor and a reviewer and editorialist at O:JA&L. Her first full-length poetry collection, The Temple She Became, is available from Five Oaks Press. Other work has previously been published or is forthcoming in RattleOSU: The JournalThe American Journal of PoetryB O D Y[PANK], and The Antigonish Review. On February 13, 2019, Rachel Custer became a recipient of a 2019 Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Rachel Custer is the poetry editor at O:JA&L.

Image: Sunday morning Series, Painting 2 by Alejandro Rosemberg. Oil on canvas. 19.7 x 35.4 inches. 2012. By permission.

About the artist:
Alejandro Rosemberg is an Argentine fine artist trained by Claudio Bogino in the classical style of the Italian Great Masters. He studied color under Graydon Parrish at the Grand Central Academy of New York. His works are presently being exhibited in the United States and Canada, respectively represented by Principle Gallery in Virginia and White Rock Gallery in Vancouver. Passionate about teaching the techniques he uses, he invests much time and dedication to his drawing and painting classes and workshops held in Brazil, the USA, and Argentina. Rosemberg is the O:JA&L Featured Artist for February 2019.