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Hallelujahs & My Decadence


Artwork by Michelle Dong, staff artist

The Calling, The Pleading, The Conclusion.


"Mmmm's," "Amens," and grunts

as the preacher talks to me at the crossroads

of the pews and altar that says

This Do In Remembrance of Me


those are the theatrics of prayer which I don't know


I have forgotten that rhythm of psalms, songs, and books


a man with a sallow face and blotched hands

places his palms on my mother's chest

to feel for lymph nodes or tumors.


before I know it, I am picturing his fingers

dripping with the grease of holy oil,

head bowed detecting the affliction,

willing away the dark spirit.



I'll follow his lead, do the Christian

process of direct messaging the Lord


in the event of a looming tragedy

like all God-fearing folks should


it is that exact thing,

the mixture of faith and fear in thee Almighty's work


that might save us all from going insane

at the possibility of a gruesome ending


there is salvation that cometh if we trust him

and not question his mysterious ways buy,


I am not convicted in my religion like others


no, I falter a lot and when I do

I never ask Him for guidance

like my Methodist mother raised me to


those nightly recitations of The Lord's Prayer

have disappeared along with my calls to God


for magic bullets, because those have as much

power as my good intentions


when I try to stop my ailing relative's bones

from becoming ivory with the ebony grit of

soil....




The Lord Giveth, the Lord taketh away.



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