"Xenoglossia" by J.C. Pankratz

J. C. Pankratz

J. C. Pankratz

J.C. Pankratz attends DePauw University as an English Writing major. She hails from central Indiana and recently had her first play, Gerda's Story: Memoir of a Holocaust Survivor, co-adapted with Tim Good, produced at her university.


All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit

and began to speak in other tongues

asthe Spirit enabled them.” (Acts 2:4)



One woman's closed mouth

marinates her settled tongue

in cold saliva gasoline.


God strikes a match

and lights the tip of her tongue

like a red birthday


candle. Fire rises up the insides

of her cheeks. Flames sear

the gaps between her teeth


until heat melts jaws open,

spitting hot spark syllables

singing and sizzling in the air.


Branded tongue curls

around blazing spirit talk,

charred lips rippling magma.


Her mouth is meteor.

Hyrmutyr ks moerteer.