Nonpracticing isn’t Faithlessness
A Lenten Poem for those Exiting Institutions
There were no ashes on my forehead
as my arms soothed a hiccuping baby.
Interrupting cries were our lullaby;
wombs and not sacraments,
skin to skin rather than dust to dust,
“The Fire Next Time” as liturgy .
What if God’s voice didn’t
skulk newborns as they fall
asleep on embracing shoulders and palms,
and saved wasn’t spoken as safety’s epithet.
What if we imagined God as safe?
I picture feet that run towards gardens
instead of heavens
while fingers twirl hair as lips hum
last night’s sweetest dreams;
might we now remember them
fermented in our bones as healthy roots?
Our anchors close to water,
and our hearts lighter.
Prayer might be a verb and not a place,
neighbor a person and not an idea
and trust not forged from repair?
Repair for “Ukrainian girl” as a trending porn market.
Repair for hating trans kids.
Repair for white
recreations of its selves.
Would this God care about wombs
as extensions of lives that can live
and that already exist;
as homes and as someone’s insides,
as nourishment, and existence
that isn’t self replenishing.
Worship could not equate to care,
and faith couldn’t be a party favor to distribute.
There’d be inquiry.
There’d be rejection.
There’d be inspection.
There’d be reflection.
There’d be inspiration.
There’d be posing, still.
There’d be returned habits.
There’d be holy texts, and no final word.
There’d be continuous conversation with God, and probably less aha moments.
We’d tell the truth to children,
and listen to their differing truths.
We’d receive wisdom teachers,
and we’d list our bodies first.
Bodies can remember their dreams
have become anchors,
and their bones string enough to stretch
deep into the groundedness of our insides.
Watch how a baby
trusts their back to arch
unweighted by gravity
or even the fear of it.
They learned what their bodies
can do under water
swimming in wombs,
that moves towards openings
that bring forth depths.
They don’t resist them.