Arms flash tiny bits of skin under coats
or long suit jacket sleeves – skin white, skin dark
rhythmic in the regularity of forward swinging momentum.
Humans walk into a building, arched entrance
regimented angularity from Art Deco applique
the lobby smells like arthritis cream and Irish Spring.
Chatter echoes around the communal space
mother speaks to child.
Older man tells younger one about something
little girls in long dresses hold hands, eyes locked
on the path to the basement Saturday School,
well lit with Noah’s Ark spilling an impossible
number of animals out of its hold, nailed to the wall.
Ruffling feathers, these bird people flock into the
open maw of the church – the Holy space within a
man-poured concrete shell.
Gentle sloping floors illuminated with tall
pale-cream stained glass windows.
Above the altar piecemeal reds, greens, amethyst,
and blues like ultramarine summer skies
make up the form of the Savior.
He wrings his hands by a large rock while
out of the turbulent sky above there breaks
a lone shaft of sunlight to stream down upon his face.
There, in the garden of doubt he awaits his fate.
I didn’t really understand this whole rigmarole.
“He’s three parts” according to the pastor.
Somehow God and Spirit and Man. Three separate
components yet each distinct.
(Which one watches me jack off I wondered)
I remember the beautiful rituals, Communion Saturday
we would eat his flesh and drink his blood, chewing
tasty Wheat Thins and slugging back tart
Welches Grape Juice. Our favorite brands made
holy and incorruptible.
I was indifferent to the repeated tales of abject
Jesus being nailed to the cross seemed pretty insignificant
when he would just walkout of his tomb a few days
later, none the worse for wear.
He could sit and chat with the guys, give Mary Magdalene
a little cuddle, and transmute water to wine
until he floated up into Heaven for an indeterminate
I remember once that I cracked my knuckles during the
morning prayer. The space silent except for the ringing
CRUNCH of my finger joints. When I got home that day my
grandfather whipped me till I couldn’t sit down.
Grandma told me that night to say my prayers and ask
Jesus to forgive me.
He was mortally offended.
I closed my eyes and with deepest devotion
pretended to with all of my heart.
I am a devout non-believer. The path that takes you there sometimes starts when an individual begins to branch out from their familial religion and investigates things on their own. I don’t think that I ever truly believed any of it at all. Ever.