March 2022

Back to Issue 11

To Identify the Apostate

By Angela Costi

All avoid drowning in the lecturer’s drone

by taking perfunctory notes,

each with note pad and textbook,

positioned slightly to the left

to write with the right.


I cultivate worry with my left,

always the apologetic spill,

the readjustment of tools

to accommodate the right.


In earlier years, I complied,

held the pen with the hand

of redemption,

became a stumbling fool on the page

which made me run back to my left,

cursed with ill-omen, and yet

became the fluid dancer of arabesque

with cursive pirouettes.


I remember waddling

with my left hand strapped to my back

by Mama, enthused with the Orthodox parable

The shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats.

Jesus said unto man, to my right are the sheep

who will inherit the kingdom of God,

to my left are the goats, depart from me,

ye cursed, into everlasting fire. 


I search among the sheep, the bees, the ants

for goats, each day,

I assimilate my allotted space,

note pad and book slightly to my right,

left elbow constrained like a goat’s horn,

browse the page, devour each point

and know I’m marked from birth.