So here we are at church for the first time…

in a long time to hear the new pastor,

a vivacious red head, wicked-smart yet humble,

who talks about personally getting to know Jesus.

My stomach drops as I try to imagine

a friendship with the universe: so much distance.


I try to sing the hymns, always the best part of a service,

but begin to choke up from the memories.

I do not take the hand of the lady

next to me when the congregation lifts hands in praise.

I probably offend her, and that I do regret.


I realize I’m gonna die and there’s nothing for it,

a sometimes lonely thought, but as close

to the truth as my father’s ashes which

Mom keeps in the bowling ball bag

in her hall closet.


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I've been writing mostly poetry for many years and have gotten a number of works accepted in publications and anthologies. I'm most interested in communicating with poets for whom craft is a high priority. I enjoy finding and commenting on poetic gems in other people's work. For my own work, I welcome polite comments, whether positive or critical.

5 thoughts on “So here we are at church for the first time…”

  1. I’ve been reading and listening to this poem together with “Thrift Store Journal” fortuitously I think, because they pair well (perhaps the religious angles). I like your peopled “incidents” or story poems, and some of the details are so fine that I pause and marvel: the ashes in the bowling-ball bag! the bargain-price of your treasured journal, not taking hands, regretting the possible offense… even in telling our own stories, we decide what to include, and your inclusions so often make me smile, give me pause, prompt me to think and to reflect. Your sense of place details are fine, too – the Eel (fr.”Bobby at 30″), the orange roof of the Weinerschnitzel. But beyond the details – which never clutter, only are part of the painting of your poems, I guess that is how I’ll put that – there are overarching questions, themes, and often these are things with which I, too, wrestle. Church… wanting to belong, sing those songs, be part of the community… yet I don’t quite either “get” or fit (or something!)… and poems are vessels for our quandaries,
    pains, observations… our lives! At least, that is what I so generously find in yours, and hope for in mine. Keep up the good life, and the writing of it : ) ~ Peri

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Peri, I am touched by your gracious comments. I know how much work goes into writing, posting, and commenting for a blog, so I feel grateful for the time you spent reading my work and then responding with thoughtful, perceptive observations. It means a lot to me.

      Liked by 1 person

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