Offertory

By Maisy


A chain-link fence snaked around the vicinity of the school,

and in between the fence’s gaps grew morning glories,

dainty purple spectators.


They saw the school; a dear old building, a lesson in humility,

small but carefully kept, surrounded by mosaics,

saints painted in golden clouds watching over the front doors.


The fields; where we, an army of plaid-skirted girls, ran wild,

kicking up dust, our first offerings to the morning,

the dew soaking through every pore in fresh young skin.


The trees; dotted with stubborn pecans and white mulberries,

monster white mulberries the size of your ring finger,

the juice trickling down my arms, dripping off my elbow,

returning to earth - prophecy?


The pews; where we wrote our sermons to the slugs,

burrowed into the rotting podium,

where a vicarial ghost would forever preside,

watching as ponytailed priestesses shielded ladybugs and roly-polies

with plucked bamboo leaves and sheer resolve.


The pews; where I found the only four-leaf clover I have ever seen,

and believed with my whole heart that it was a sign

of forever.

I don’t know where that clover is now.


The church; clothed in soft light and an imperturbable quiet.

Candy-colored light streamed in through stained glass stories I didn’t yet understand;

falling upon glittering rosary beads and ant-like music notes -

gorgeous, intriguing, strange, small, mine.


The school is gone now. The church is elsewhere, but it doesn’t leave me empty.

I know I was a dandelion; growing weed-like,

stringy and wild-haired and golden.

All of my prayers feel like sacrilege, but what was sacrilege? We were children,

and God, old as stars, could never be angry - 

not the God that brought me bugs and fences and clover,


and especially not the God that brought me mulberries.

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