Prem Sylvester

The Futility of Being a Rice Bag Convert*

If you’d like to add us to the crucifix display,
we’d be happy to oblige
We are quite tired of laying in missionary
Faith drums the breast
of the matron and her teats of testosterone,
a buffet unwanted

I lost my religion – and my craving for carbs
many years of sin ago
My sympathies, last names are a tricky thing
that undefinable scourge
of blood that doesn’t sliver in your centrifuge
I have no bile to feed you

When you come for my home, you’ll come
for a feast of flesh
When you shove the wine-dipped barrel down
my gullet, emptying my present,
help yourself to the bags of rice and cuts of beef
It’d be a shame to live hungry

*with the rise of right-wing Hindu nationalism in India, the minority Christian population is often labeled a group of “rice bag converts,” a dog-whistle to the belief that previous generations of Indian Christians converted from Hinduism for a few bags of food offered by missionaries

Prem Sylvester is a writer from India who turns into words the ideas he catches a whiff of from time to time. Sometimes people read these words. His work has appeared in Parentheses Journal, Rabid Oak, Turnpike Magazine, Royal Rose, Rising Phoenix Review, and Memoir Mixtapes among others

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