The Art Journal I Kept Back When I Loved Jesus

A Very Long Party In Green, Li Anne Liew 

Lives in a clear plastic bin below my childhood bed,

neighbors with decades-old stuffed teddies and virgin candles

gifted to me for my Confirmation, because I could never bear

to throw them away.

I’d scribble over the pages of collaged bible verses if I could,

pressure the hemorrhagic Catholic guilt that bled through 

my palms and onto the paper—the same blood meant

to absolve me of my impiety.

I’d tear out the pages of strained “inspiration,” then panic

and put them back in. What if mother sees my sorrow, 

or worse, my regrets inked on paper, carefully curated

back when I prayed to leave every morning,

back when I believed in one God, the Father Almighty,

maker of do’s and do not’s and blotches of sin. A sin for a fib,

a single Sunday absence, pretending you’re still pure,

and loving who you want to love.

I don’t know who I love anymore. 

My old self has been smothered, de-mothered, buried deep 

beneath my bed, told to make friends with kid shoes and papers

from private school while I figure out who I am.

The art journal I kept back when I loved Jesus could not 

be filled up now. No scraps of women’s biblical devotionals 

tell you it’s fine to have grown, it’s fine to not know.

Forgive me, old self, for I have sinned.

About the Author

Helena Ducusin · George Fox University

Helena Ducusin (she/they) is a recent English graduate of George Fox University and currently residing in Tigard, OR with their husband and cat. They have a passion for inclusive, empathetic fiction for children and young adults and tend to unload their gigantic mess of emotions through writing. Individual works have appeared in The Nasiona, The Pointed Circle, The Wineskin, and several publications on Medium. Can be found sharing poems on Twitter as @helenawriting.

About the Artist

Li Anne Liew · Chapman University

Li Anne Liew is a filmmaker, graphic designer, and photographer born and raised in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. She recently graduated from Chapman University, where she studied Film Production. Her work aims to provoke emotional responses from character-driven stories that stem from memory, impermanence, and loneliness. Li Anne is inspired by unknown cities and the emotional quality of settling within familiar and unfamiliar places. She hopes to forever create art that makes the mundane feel grand and intimate.

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