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Bearing the Cross

Updated: Mar 12

My catechism teacher once pulled me out into the hallway to recite the lord’s prayer and scripture flowed from my mouth

as it did

a million

times before,

my mind barely touching the stream as the words skimmed past, weaving slowly through the crevices of my tiny fingers like summer honey.

Who knew how hard it’d be to grasp something so sticky,

but the taste of prayer lingered on my lips from childhood to adolescence,

I drank the wine at eight years old

from a cup wiped clean of any sign my lips had touched it

and I never could scrub away the glimmering words

of a god I had never met.

I memorized parables and prayers,

even if I never understood their meaning;

I remember watching my grandfather die in the house I grew up in so vividly

because I knew innately,

in the doorway as he heaved his final phrases that I can’t recall, six years old yet aged in an instant,

that it was wrong to feel so much nothingness.

But today instead of wondering if his dying breath still lingers in those old hallways,

I wonder if my Sunday school shoes

are still buried in the back of my bedroom closet.

I never feared death,

but for all the wrong reasons.

The house used to paint the soles of my feet black, the residue of collected dust and dirt coating my innocence over and over itself again