• Beatrice Iker

Poem #3: Church Pews & Bubble Gum

Updated: Dec 22, 2020

Poem #3 - excerpt from The Timeline of the Universe

Chapter: Earth

The friendship I had with my church friends was a friendship that could not be explained, or even understood - least of all by me

We stepped into the vestibule and we vibrated with energy we used to disobey our parents as often as possible

We danced down the aisle, we sang in the choir, and we bowed our heads at the altar

Some of us believed, and some of us did not, but we all understood on some level that it was important we were there

It was important that we mimicked Mother Caldwell or Deacon Jones

It mattered what we wore, how we wore it, and that someone (read: our mothers) pre-approved it

Our hair, freshly hot-combed from our grandmother’s kitchens, mattered perhaps most of all

It was a cult only we were a part of, and it was a part of our lives that only each other saw

We were so tired on Sunday mornings, but when we saw each other you would have thought Jesus had come back himself

To this day, I don’t know if the energy we experienced was similar to all AME Zion churches, or if ours was different

It had to be different

There was no way anyone else could know me like this, could have an entire conversation without a word during communion, could say something in front of our parents but understand that we were talking about something unrelated

Hushed whispers in the pews

Withered looks from this Elder or that

White stockings

Sticky thighs on wood

Tongue compressors

Stained glass


The blood of Christ

"I wish that were real wine!"

Maybe Dad won't yell tonight, he looks like he's having a good time

New members getting saved by a pastor who needs to be saved

Bubble gum in new flavors every week

I laughed, and laughed, and laughed

Someone cried - someone always cried

I loved them

I never told any of them about you

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