For years my Catholic cloak has covered me,
Protected me, kept me warm in its embrace.
I’ve grown into its waves and folds
Since it first enwrapped my baby soul
But recently I have started feeling
The secular chill it has guarded me from.
While others have thrown it off in disgust,
I have simply been careless and let it slip
Slowly down my shoulders,
Inch by inch, year after year,
Disappointed at first, then indifferent
Learning I can live with the cold.
As the cool air sucks my warmth away,
I wonder if I should care
Or if I could survive if I just let the fabric fall
To my ankles and step away,
Leaving it crumpled on the ground.
BIO: Eloísa Pérez-Lozano grew up bilingual and bicultural in Houston, Texas. She graduated from Iowa State University with her M.S. in journalism and mass communication and her B.S. in psychology. She is a long-distance member of the Latino Writers Collective in Kansas City, and a member of the Gulf Coast Poets and The Poetry Society of Texas. Her poetry has been featured or is forthcoming in The Texas Observer, aaduna, Illya’s Honey, The Acentos Review, several anthologies, and VONA’s Voices Against Racial Injustice: An Arts Forum, among others.
ARTIST BIO: Born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska, Courtney Kenny Porto is known for her figurative work, charcoal drawings, and yarn paintings. She has exhibited work in numerous juried and solo exhibitions throughout the United States and has work in private and corporate collections throughout the Midwest. Porto has been featured in numerous publications, anthologies, blogs, and television interviews.