The Stuff That Lingers

My childhood memories seep into my senses

The smell of dust and wood and age

Harsh pews and dangling feet and digging

Through my grandmother’s purse for mints

Actually for anything that could serve as playful distraction

From the assurance that I am surely doomed to Hell

Paper clips, tissues, empty gum wrappers

We fashion into medieval goblets

Giggling, once too often, and I am outside picking my own switch

I search for a savior through the hazy wavy window pane

Only a mass of distorted shapes like spirits, oblivious and singing

The preacher was right


At once after my stinging selection

I recall a dream and I am back inside

Sitting in the back of that same sacred space

Dangling my feet and watching them sway

I look up and he is sitting in the front pew

Purple paisley bandana across his sweaty forehead

Afro far from sculpted, well-worn vest and yellowed billowed shirt

I see his profile, I know him

I have heard his electrifying anthem

I liked it

THEY did not

He turns his body toward me, cranes his neck

Lifts his long arm and rests that hand on the pew

We see each other

Expression soft, a smile for comfort

He winks

And we know there is no Hell

He returns his gaze forward and we listen contented

Enjoying the choir’s jubilant hymn

To this day, I do not recall my punishmentJimi-Hendrix-Electric-Church--476298

~ by April on December 1, 2012.

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