Denise, Part II By Nicole Lourette

Denise, Part II

from French
from Latin
Dionysia, fem of Dionysius
/god of agriculture
/specifically vines and wine—
my mother has not drank since 1987.
In 2011 she buys a $4 bottle of sparkling blush
and feels a buzz after half a glass.
I finish the bottle for her.

/patron of theatre and religion
/specifically “spiritual intoxication”
raised Southern Baptist,
Roman Catholic, sure
Agnostic by location
Unitarian out of convenience.
She sent us to Charlotte when I was eight.
My grandmother flailed and passed out in front of the alter.
Men laid their bodies in rows,
kept their legs straight and closed,
smoothed their dresses.
I thought them dead, worried about taking
the bus back home by myself.

I was purchased,
injected into her body
from a storage freezer.
six years later she was pregnant,
unmarried with twins.
“I couldn’t kill both of them.”

/mystery of religion
I lost my virginity in 2003.
told my mother I believed in God,
after I stopped swallowing bottles of her pills
in the downstairs bathroom.
“I’m so proud of you baby girl, God is with you
even when you don’t want him.”
I attended church that year hung-over often.
listening to Linkin Park in one ear, iPod hidden in my bra.

/ritual madness

Denise saw God more than once.
seizing on the floor,
screaming like something other than my mother,
the whites of her eyes too white, too exposed,
her voice hurried, excited to regale us with the aliens
beaming orbs into the sky
“the aliens are coming,
God is coming to take me”
I watched from the top of the stairs,
picturing E.T. knocking on the front door.
My mom is crazy.
Don’t say that, said everyone.

/visions of emotion, sometimes physical euphoria
we people-watch at the mall.
“chocolate covered strawberries
are better than sex”
she tells me.
I haven’t seen Denise in two years.
she calls and says
she wants to be like me when she grows up.

By Nicole Lourette


Nicole Lourette is a poet and event planner from Rochester, NY. She now lives in Pittsburgh, PA after graduating with her MFA from Chatham University with concentrations in poetry and travel writing. She travels both for work and her own sanity as often as possible and hates peanut butter. She is an editor for Pittsburgh Poetry Review, and her work has been featured in IDK Magazine, Public Pool, Vagabond City Journal, and elsewhere.

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