26 Seconds to Sacrifice

Abraham’s echoed names wrapped in radio static escaped out the car door like bats. She looked
up and away as it slept there in the neon lights of I-95’s gas station overhang. A 15-year-old
girl. Her chest a thicket. Now she swallows a placebo called mercy. Acrylic nails clutching a
saw as she murders a ram she found, caught at 1:00 AM by its tangled body in a paisley dress.
Her horns roped by silhouettes on the curbside. She went over the script, and took the ram, and
sacrificed it as a mirror burnt holes in her offering.

◍ ◍ ◍

When the night instead was bloodless, she walked to the 7-11 entryway as a group of men spun
pulses on the yellow lanyards around their fingers. 1 doled out his Camels™ and they floated
like crimsoning lantern flies. She cradled her insides like a son. Mason jars were stacked in the
backs of jeep wagons so that later, if they felt like it, they could watch lightning bugs die on
the interstate. She began strangling herself in her fist while she minced, showing that she, too, could
kill. Lengthening her bra straps, a zipped cardigan like a body bag. Abraham Abraham
Abraham: little black suns hung by their claws, lined up and called the highway’s sermon.

◍ ◍ ◍

That body has become a place where she whispers The Lord and it leaves as a man’s name
fading into plaster like weed. They will provide something that looks like an opened fist, like a
sky. And to this day, she makes her keychain do precise somersaults as she waits for a bus back
from her 9-to-5. It is the same way she prays—slouched over the table, with nicotine-dusted
wraps unpeeled, vulnerable, spread open on the roof of her mouth like floral wallpaper. Sunset’s
gaping maw waiting for rain or smoke. Pattern of angel’s trumpets perked up straight, same as
the one in her grandmother’s bedroom.

◍ ◍ ◍

Those times Grandma snipped a blossom from the wall and clenched until it was creased like her
hands, then said an overused allegory. She sewed it on the inside of her granddaughter’s skirt—
destined to be gasoline-bleached from the mountain of the Lord: “raise a blade and it will be
provided.” A 15-year-old girl lifted her strained knuckles in that walk to the Coca-Cola™
vending machine. Proving her devotion. Proving she was worthy to be one of the guys who
shared an e-cig before making it home—but never anything close to a wild animal—never,


“Genesis 22:13.” The Holy Bible: New International Version, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI, 2005.

“In the original biblical story, Abraham takes his son Isaac to the top of a mountain and is about to sacrifice him under God’s command as a way of proving his loyalty. Though God provides him with a ram at the very last moment to sacrifice instead, Abraham passes the test because he fully intended to obey God’s orders without question. I wanted to play around with the roles of this story to represent an unhealthy loyalty that this young girl pledges to strangers because she feels that she must. She is expected to adjust her behavior around men which allows the male gaze to wield an immense amount of power, nearly to the extent of an undeserved divinity. ”


Danae Younge is a three-time award-winning poet and an editor for Kalopsia Literary Journal. At twenty-years-old, Danae’s work has been internationally recognized by Bacopa Literary Review, Salamander Magazine, Rust + Moth, Sidereal Magazine, Perhappened Magazine, and over thirty other publications as well as five worldwide print anthologies. She is currently pursuing her Creative Writing BA in Los Angeles, California. WEB   INSTA