Two Houses

by ISABELLA DOEKSEN | Sarah Stecher prize, student poetry contest

In my Mother’s home
Mere Christianity & The God Delusion
Share a shelf

She got the former
From my Grandfather
The latter
From leaving

I think Richard Dawkins & C.S. Lewis
Are both too condescending
To take seriously

I was born in two thousand & four
But I grew up on cassette tapes
In my Grandfather’s home

If you blow on the spindles
& the tape         gently
You can stop them
From catching

I didn’t have the patience for
Beethoven’s fifth symphony
So I listened
To “Adventures in Odyssey”

They’re much more in line
With C.S. Lewis’s
Brand of proselytizing
but Goddamn if they weren’t entertaining

All ham-fisted sanctimony
& action-figure Messiahs
All fire & brimstone
& scare-crow nonBelievers
Thrown unto the pyre

I grew up a tomboy
Runnin’ around in gym shorts
& oversized t-shirts
On my Grandfather’s dirt

But tomboys don’t grow
Into tomMen
I may be built like a stick bug
but Goddamn if I wasn’t
A stumbling block

My Mother’s voice is in my ear
In my Grandfather’s home
Telling me to put a training bra on
Under my dry-fit Nike t-shirt
Because there’s no way in Hell
Grandma would ever think
of disinviting Uncle ****

They bought me CDs
I started wearing a 32 A cup
that I got from my mother
I learnt that “Focus on the Family”
is considered a hate group
by the Southern Poverty Law Center
I stopped listening
to “Adventures in Odyssey”

Learnt what I needed to
From leaving

but my Mother still gets their magazines
Espousing the virtue
Of one-piece swimsuits
To prepubescent children


Isabella Doeksen is a high school senior who is dual-enrolled at TCC. She plans to graduate in May.

Xitlalli Ruelas Sandoval is a self-taught artist and student at TCC currently pursuing a degree in Graphic Design. Making art has always been one of her biggest passions. She won Best in Show in the 2022 George Miksch Sutton art contest. Participating in artistic opportunities has allowed her to expand her experience and dedication towards her work and audience.