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solace undeservingly, for after all, should I weep that my family cares too much for me, wishes to evangelize me head to toe, and save my soul? A moccasin with cinnamon-apple teeth, the tenets of my name demand I forfeit any reason, the remotest twinge of self-pity: patiently suffer, twiddle thumbs, and smile because there are poor and dirty folks groveling for nickels, and I have dollars. There was a lesson behind every sweat stain in the pulpit, every paper plate washed, every crinkle in the pants perused, that if I just did the damn things I was supposed to do that there would be an angel in my side pocket, siphoning me spare luck in the form of loose change for coffee and finding a lost sock, if I’m good enough. I violently pray for this moment, rack my knees and palms with a furious fervor, but I know I am a voyeur in the foyer, a sin so sunlit, upsetting the order, that, well . . . maybe I just need to say more, and more. When I was hungry, ye showed me the food and went on to Damascus. How do I pray for any of you? The minute I stand beside the cornbread and collard greens and call upon Calvary, I am a gatekeeper to the gut not God, so what was I learning in church besides how to tuck a napkin in the soul to catch grease? This is my diaspora, to cherish and give, give all I can imagine, every second of thought, aspirations, and loose pennies, only to have the pew yanked back. I wish the words had felt real this time, but they didn’t, and they won’t, so once more in the shade of a sycamore, my amen shivers in the hellish heat and thuds on ears that have not heard me.

Austin 89

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Red Cedar Review Vol. 54  

Red Cedar Review Vol. 54