We’ve Passed Through Many Churches

A magic trick—
the nothing that can
levitate a woman from the ground.
A steel plate fixed at the spine.
A golden braided band around a finger. A replacement.
A circle of safety. A fearfulness glinting silvery like satin
threads in the stole hanging by gray filing cabinets.
A reaching. A 36in candlelighter, A tarnished brass,
An open flame in the hands of a child. The story of stories
burning in the fire, the ash of a mind and the floodlights
of a Ford. An iciness and a blue. A tornado siren at noon.

A continual rotation. The fan in a window unit.
An unnerving. A mosaic. A ring of small plastic
cups, nestled in the slots of a communion tray.
An enticement.
Wood paneling. A property dispute. A masquerading
of morality. Ascension. My mother’s key locked
in the church van. Desperation. Fog
machines. Dolls married in the empty nursery.
A Christian haunted house. A plan. A Sleeplessness.
A dachshund in a basket pulled through
a bedroom window with a rope of twisted bed sheets.

An infatuation with lace at the edges of a long hanging
baptismal gown. A wreath. A death.
Many.
A pastor’s wife with a seminary degree. The inability
to pretend. A phobia
of smoke & drowning. A prayer
labyrinth. Packets of Sweet ‘N Low
by the sweating tea canisters in the fellowship
hall. A narthex. A moroseness.
People with a good memory for life
in the panhandle.

A collection
of dead crickets scavenged to be flushed down
the toilet in the church basement. Sunday Best
in Braum’s Ice Cream & Dairy.
The inability to find fulfillment. A 40 year
elder. Fourteen-year-olds pretending to get married.
A man who would fall without sturdy nails.
The theatrics of A sanctuary without
the congregation. A child’s commands
at A darkened pulpit.

 

 

 

 

Madelyn Parker is originally from Oklahoma. She is currently a creative writing MFA student at New Mexico State University. Her poems have been published in a few print and online publications, including Barren Magazine, Elevation Review, and Red Earth Review.