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God or a Lottery Ticket in a Black Woman’s Purse

By Angelique Palmer

Trying to find faith 
in a world that is slowly killing me and blaming me for why they can’t do it right

or why survival might be the only thing in the way of enjoying life

or the privileges I own are many but the luxury of using them correctly 
            belongs to someone else

or suffer the little children…                                 that’s it.

or explaining to your body that 
           cigarettes and alcohol use may have primed it for toxicity, 
           but it’s the paycheck to paycheck, 
                       hand to mouth, 
                       and constant trying of the elasticity of your stressors 
                       that’s really boiled you into a ghoul stew 
one that everyone you know recognizes as heritage or a curse

or dodging the landlord, ducking my debtors, and flirting with the bill collectors created in me 
           a matching set of fissures & fault lines that saying boo, might irreparably break

or how do you pray when you keep failing every religion that has failed you

or winning the lottery would really solve a lot of these problems, 
            so buying my lottery ticket is a sort of worship: 
            look at how every few days I ask something invisible to do something impossible 
            and the bit of hope that opens in my heart creates a dream-- 
            one where I will not be crushed by the sunrise 
            and somehow find a joy that will fix me.

or faith is the only thing keeping me alive, 
            when the world is trying to kill me, and asking me if it’s doing it right.




Listen as Angelique Palmer reads "God or a Lottery Ticket in a Black Woman's Purse."

Added: Tuesday, April 9, 2019  /  Used with permission. Photo by Michelle Antoinette Nelson.
Angelique Palmer
Photo by Michelle Antoinette Nelson.

Angelique Palmer is a competitive performance poet, a finalist in the 2015 Women of the World Poetry Slam, and a semi-finalist at the 2017 National Poetry Slam in Denver, Colorado as a member of The Beltway Poetry Slam Team representing Washington, DC. Angelique is the author of the poetry collection The Chambermaid’s Style Guide (Sargent Press, 2016). Her writing also appears in The Mud Season Review and WusGood? Magazine. She's a 2018 Colgate University writing retreat resident, a 2017 Graduate Fellow of The Watering Hole, and a 2015 member of the A Room of Her Own writing retreat. A Creative Writing graduate from Florida State University, Angelique now calls northern Virginia home and makes her own ice cream.

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