Fundamentalism by Aaron Dwyer

Aaron Dwyer is a writer of both prose and screenplays, including the short film “Home Sweet Home,” which was featured in the 2020 Frog Baby Film Festival. They consider themselves an emerging poet because their last published poem was written for a Celebration of Young Poets volume in the second grade and had something to do with singing pigs. The Broken Plate is their clean slate.

The following piece by Aaron Dwyer will be featured in the 2022 issue of The Broken Plate.


There is a book of spells
sequestered in a Catholic school girl’s dresser drawer next to the rosary beads
and her corsage left from prom

The corsage has been left to wither and crumble
just like her faith
in God,
in herself,
and her own resolve
Because the prom queen
blew a kiss to the crowd
and she wished it was for just for her

She won’t perform a spell over these feelings,
or make her first love potion,
even if she could take all the herbs she’d need
from the kitchen
without her mother noticing
Those thoughts kept locked
outside the pearly gates
are loose now,
but no matter how much she tells herself
there’s nothing wrong with her,
she is still waiting for the lightning strike to come

She listens to her parents talking after dinner,
rushes through washing the dishes,
sleeves still rolled down
to hide the black Sharpie pentagram
she doodled on her wrist in class —
Sorry, Sister, I was just so bored,
and it was either this
or chewing on my crucifix necklace

They’re talking about the moral decay
of America’s youth,
and how grateful they are to have such a
straight A student
for a daughter

She goes to her room
and fumes underneath the covers
with her book that contains
the potential for a years-long grounding

How, she wonders, can they say
that today’s teenagers are lazy and entitled
when Satan isn’t even teaching the children
witchcraft and lesbianism anymore?
They’re doing it all by themselves