Heretic in the Catacombs

by Colleen Abel

When I got out from under
the damp tongue of the priest’s 

sermon, there was something I was
finally ready to declare

something grave:     God
as the great

naught     God
as un—     not ur—

All I held:     fictionalia

& then I went to the castle
of bones     the bunk-

beds of martyrs     with God
yawning from the clammy tufo

requiring nothing

Heresy is easy scoffs the marble 
saint     the axe marks 

in her neck say try believing   

& there was something I was—

finally ready to


Colleen Abel is a disabled writer living in the Midwest. Her work has appeared in venues such as Lit Hub, Cincinnati Review, The Southern Review, Colorado Review, PleiadesPoetry Northwest, and elsewhere. Her first poetry collection, REMAKE, won the 2015 Editors Prize from Unicorn Press. She has two chapbooks, HOUSEWIFERY (dancing girl press) and DEVIANTS, a hybrid work about stigmatized bodies that won Sundress Publications’ 2016 Chapbook Prize. She has been awarded fellowships from UW-Madison’s Institute for Creative Writing and the Tulsa Artist Fellowship. She is the Poetry Editor of Bluestem magazine and Assistant Professor of English at Eastern Illinois University.