Sitting in Church
There’s Anna, in the back pew,
whose husband left her this spring
for another man.
He was our third gradeSchool teacher.
She's on her own now,
until his unborn child arrives.
On the left side, Mrs. Sheldon,
with a china doll's face and a frown-frozen mouth.
She hardened over
after the wreck that took her daughter,
and her sons left her house as soon as they could,
their impatience brittled by her bitterness.
Mr. Sheldon won't attend his wife's church.
Old Frank Bay at the front,
his brother Gary in the back corner,
the gap incarnating felt distance.
They sing the hymns in low unison across the sanctuary,
but the two bass voices never cross elsewhere,
even though the brothers still share the old house.
I doubt they’ve exchanged three words since their quarrel.
Rick Lintwood, over on the right,
a confirmed skirt chaser,
with his arm curled round his current lady’s shoulders,
whispering in her ear sometimes,
a commentary on the sermon, I'm sure.
In the middle, Linda Garrett,
who put her parents away in a nursing home
four months ago and hasn't seen them since
to tell them she has auctioned all their things,
even the portrait of young Mrs. Garrett
sketched by Mr. Garrett before their marriage.
Her bracelets clink as she turns her Bible’s shivering chiffon leaves.
And Pastor Jim, standing behind the pulpit,
in venerable black, with a respectable receding hairline,
gazing and exhorting.
I saw him yell in his five-year-old's face last week
for tripping and spilling juice on her father's slacks.
Today he preaches heaven belongs to such.
What things we do to each other and ourselves.
Somewhere in the congregation, I,
ex-filthy-liar, erstwhile glutton, and much else.
I wouldn’t have come here if I hadn’t been sick of me.
How shall we live any longer therein
Pastor hides behind the cross-carved pulpit,
the silent justification of our sin.
We always leave God there ― sacrificial victim.
We accept and carry on and make him void.
With our inheritance we build sand-houses.
Not every one that saith, Lord
Perhaps he left us a different kind of legacy.
whereby we cry, Abba
©June 2015 Rachelle E. Ferguson