When I was young I was dragged to Sunday service,
sat unhappily brooding in a middling distance pew,
wedged in varying configurations amongst
my mother, grandmother, and sister,
jerking myself awake against the pastor’s droning tide.
Occasionally I’d nod into hellbent dozing,
only to be sharply elbowed awake by my mom
if she were part of the immediate wedging,
or given a gentle arm slap should she need lean over to revive me.
Eventually, hallelujah, she joined the choir,
and my grandmother and sister were not as zealous to wake me,
so Sunday’s torture session on the hard glossily Pledged wooden pews
became quite the welcome silent slumber time.
Most days my sister or grandmother would finally nudge me
back to the real world of Christian existence as the service ended,
the exit processional in energetic progress,
me groggily apprehending our pastor’s flowing robes and fluttering stole,
as he strode jaunty and smiling for the exit, Bible gripped in hand,
ready to greet every last parishioner with boundless enthusiasm,
staring up into his gold-rimmed glasses
as he kidded me about my sleep patterns.
Eventually I became more involved in the goings-on,
catechized acolyte, even regular reader of the weekly scripture,
my own voice droning through the congregation,
where I too could see younger members,
heads jolting bolt upright at parental prodding.
I left that all behind, in the middle of my senior year in high school.
By then the old pastor who knew my slothful ways had long moved on,
and the one who served most of my time there
knew me only as a most devout and awaked servant of God.