Sin Offering

By Elizabeth Cranford Garcia

Leviticus 12:1–7

Sand scorches my feet
like ashes,
a forgotten fire.

Sun on my face
welcomes me back
from eighty dark days

to witness bloody horns,
spatters of careful slaughter,
a pool of blood sliding across the sand

black and sticky, like my own,
but sprinkled on a holy altar,

If I could step inside,
stroke the wide cloth
brown with years of sin,

write my name
with my own
human redness,

would it be clean
as that bird,
that lamb?

Sudden stirring at my breast—
under thick folds, my child wakes
in sweat, and her hoarse cry

echoes across the desert
like a great shadow,
like distant water.


About Elizabeth Cranford Garcia

Elizabeth Cranford Garcia is the current Poetry Editor for Dialogue: a Journal of Mormon Thought, previous Poetry Editor for Segullah, and a contributor to Fire in the Pasture: 21st Century Mormon Poets. Her work has appeared in a variety of journals and anthologies, and her first chapbook, Stunt Double, was published in 2015 through Finishing Line Press. Her three small children compete with her writing for attention, and usually win.

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