THE OLD STORY
My father spoke of atheism as if it were a religion,
pounding the points of his argument into the dinner table,
spilling the salt with the seed of his own bad temper.
He raised me to be an atheist, too,
and I learned well the commandments of godlessness.
But at night in bed I suffered for it and was penitent
memorizing prayers buy the pages
glossing the psalms with a litany of pleas
that somehow God would find me, small as I was,
and make me a believer,
and, though a prodigal daughter, much loved, much loved.
How I longed for the sweet blow of grace
coming upon me like a hammer on a nail,
or a beggar on a penny
or raindrops on the parched red clay
turned to rust in the arid fields of my soul.
One night – I was under the covers saying…
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