This selection, chosen by guest editor Shlagha Borah, is from The Convert's Heart is Good to Eat by Melody S. Gee, released by Driftwood Press in 2022.
The Convert Learns to Play Hide and Seek
The convert hid within her grandfather’s restaurant while her cousin hunted, while their mothers fried in oil and sweet and sour. When the convert’s parents laid eyes on her they said, daughter, daughter. They never played this game with her because from daughter there is no hiding. When the Lord walked in the garden calling the pair from the trees, a game began. Now the convert strains to find Him, fingering her ripped places, stalking Him out of His relentless camouflage. The theologian says there is no faith without separation. A ship will sink under its own lighthouse. Now the convert’s daughter is hiding from her. The girl knows being found is the part you wait for but is not the best part. Tucked behind the restaurant’s lard buckets, the convert heard the boy flushing the usual traps and dark passages. She entered a country where she thought she could live. The writer says waiting is etymologically related to vigor, to vigilance. The convert seeks with bellows and stomps. Her daughter’s laughs reveal her place every time. Who can keep from saying here I am?
Melody S. Gee is the author of The Dead in Daylight (Cooper Dillon Books, 2016) and Each Crumbling House (Perugia Press, 2010), winner of the Perugia Press Prize. She is the recipient of Kundiman poetry and fiction fellowships, two Pushcart Prize nominations, and the Robert Watson Literary Prize. Her poems, essays, and reviews appear in Commonweal Magazine, Blood Orange Review, Lantern Review, and The Rappahannock Review. She is a freelance writer and editor living in St. Louis, Missouri with her husband and daughters.
Shlagha Borah (she/her) is a poet from Assam, India. Her work appears in Salamander, Nashville Review, Identity Theory, Longleaf Review, Variant Literature, Rogue Agent, and elsewhere. She is pursuing an MFA in Poetry at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and is an Associate Poetry Editor at Grist. She has received support for her work from Brooklyn Poets and Sundress Academy for the Arts. She is the co-founder of Pink Freud, a student-led collective working towards making mental health accessible in India.