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Divine Mistakes

by Marisa Valotta


What god makes mistakes? 


My spine is braided clumsy

                    a child’s first attempt  

to place each strand of hair.


behind there



                  around this one.


Nice try, kid

but my bones ache. 

My lumbar lumbers to the side. 

My thoracic lists and tilts. 


What god misplaces so many bones?


These vertebrae are a barbed wire fence 

that strains against my skin, pushes up from the inside 

until I am a ridged creature— 

I could say I am like the mountains or a dragon

something majestic—

but I feel like something more 





What god made me the way I was made?


I believe 

I am clay

I mold myself 

but I am not 

the god who made me the way I was made.

I am not the sculptor 

of the before

but I can choose to sculpt 

the after:


My spine was braided clumsy, but I have steady hands. 


Marisa Valotta

Marisa Valotta is a queer writer from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and a graduate of Seton Hill University where she earned her degree in Creative Writing. She uses writing to reflect on her identity, sexuality, and her place in the world. Her writing often touches on themes such as the concept of home and how humans connect and relate to nature, the universe, and some higher power. She has been published in Eye Contact and Emerging Writers of Pennsylvania. She has a three-year-old avocado tree named Cody that she grew from the seed.

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