Poem: On a Sunday morning

Posted: May 7, 2015 in Uncategorized

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I saw a suited man
remove his Sunday hat
and toss it on a church pew
after he pinched
the Widow Larkin on the back bench,
as he passed her by.

I saw a lone wife
sit on the front pew,
with bent head and sweaty
hands clasped in prayer,
clinging to a lace handkerchief.

I heard the choir sing
songs of love and forgiveness
and bringing in the sheaves.
I was proud I knew what sheaves were.

I pretended not to notice
when my neighbor slipped
a ten dollar bill from
the prayer plate as it made
its way down the rows.

I said Amens with the congregation,
so no one would turn around and stare
at me to think I didn’t agree.

I tipped my head to the widow
at the end of the service,
when she rushed out in silence.
I saw the suited man follow her
beyond a muddy path into a copse
of trees.

Pap was late to pick me up
and I sat on the church steps,
and saw the widow running from
the woods buttoning her dress.

I ran to Pap’s junky ’50 Ford
and jumped in when he slowed
to pick me up. I clung
to the running board while he
drank from a bottle and laughed.

In the back seat, I listened
and held my head down
when he asked what
I’d learned in church that day.

I held back tears when he turned
the key off and slapped
me cross my face
in waiting for a reply.

I thought for a bit and told Pap
that all mortals were sinners and
braced for the next slap
when he turned the key again
and the Ford lurched forward.

I heard Pap mumble I’d be making more
trips to church.
He said I hadn’t learned enough
and needed the Holy Ghost,
because I was just like my sinful mama.

I rolled down the window glass
and watched the world fly by in a blur
and cried real tears.
I wished Pap hadn’t hit Mama so hard
that she never woke up.

I’d put wildflowers on her unmarked grave behind the outhouse

–on a Sunday morning.

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