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
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.