—sanctity by Kristina Moriconi


just last year, the steeple
struck by lightning,

smoke & flames
ascending like angry spirits

now this—the parking lot

a wake—a committee
of vultures

first to arrive on the scene,
having descended

in a rush
of rapid wingbeats,

clad in funeral suits,
plumed & pressed—

what to make of this dark

thing, these feathery

in a time of pandemic,
political unrest,

& a retelling
of the stories of Sylvia Plath—

how the struggle
of others

holds peculiar purpose

in hours of despair—a planet,
its masses,

threatened by signs
of impending doom—

here, it’s been raining for days,
so many hurricanes

they’ve run out of names—

I watch as the congregation,
distanced & masked,

files out of church—a sea
of black umbrellas

& the vultures, having finished
off their work,

systematic & swift,

lift all at once, veer toward
the dying ash


Kristina Moriconi is a poet, essayist, and visual artist whose work has appeared in a variety of literary journals and magazines including Sonora Review, Brevity, Cobalt Review, Lumina, as well as many others. She is the winner of Terrain.org’s 11th Annual Nonfiction Contest, her winning essay forthcoming in early 2021. Moriconi’s work has been included in the anthology Flash Nonfiction Food, (Woodhall Press 2020) and her lyric narrative In the Cloakroom of Proper Musings was published by Atmosphere Press in August 2020.