Figure Study IV, Michael Specht



 a gloss after Elizabeth Gilbert

Not all my prayers beseech you—
on the widest nights I’ve tied


a wire to a tin can, swung for the neck
of the nearest shining idol and howled


so proud. I needed answers right then
and no, not you nor the moon have ever


spoken down; not to me.

I am not ashamed


of a man’s teeth on my ear, his cold,
slick arms as he uncarefully


removes all doubt. I pull his brass hand
onto my thigh, and I


let it stay there, because I asked
him a question and he answered


it quickly. If devotion is diligence
without assurance, no—


I can never wholly worship you.


About the Author

Crystal Barrick, Bennington College

Crystal Barrick graduated in 2011 from Bennington, where she studied literature, education, and public action. She served on the plain china staff as senior nonfiction editor, editor-in-chief, and party planner for two-and-a-half marvelous years. She lives in Brooklyn and works at Student Achievement Partners, an educational nonprofit. “Idolatry” is part of a collection entitled “Reverence, Defined.”

About the Artist

Michael Specht, Eckerd College

Award-winning photographer Michael Specht graduated in 2011 from Eckerd, where he majored in visual arts. He currently lives in San Francisco and works for Apple as a camera test engineer. View more of his work here.

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