I Know All the Words

This is what I want —
an invocation or a memory
untainted by ’60s Methodist
abstract stained glass or
having been kissed

in the church kitchen,
an old man’s  sweaty cheek
smearing my glasses.

I want tiny cups of grape juice,
dusty sighs and offertory envelopes,
paper bulletins and golf pencils
to draw on them. Do I want

’80s Jesus to come back,
those days to come back, only
this time I would yell
for my mother, in the next room,
decorating long tables
for Easter dinner? I didn’t yell —

I went out to the playground,
sat on the jungle gym, thought
how everything had changed.

And it had.

The skyscraper church
in downtown Chicago —
far from Dayton, Ohio —
rings out the doxology,

Wesley hymns, and I’m sorry
to be separated from my music,
startled when I know all the words.








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