For 8 years, on every wednesday night, my CCD class and I would sit in mass, eyes closed, with folded hands,
The youth leaders, who were actually older than jesus himself, told me if I locked my fingers and let them point down I... would be talking to the devil,
They constantly nagged,
So I kept them up as a reminder of why I was there,
We would kneel for an hour in the pews, though I was too young to know what they meant when they told me to pray,
Our conversations went like this:
“Hey Dude, it’s me again..
Occasionally, I’d break the pact of ‘keep your eyes closed’ and I would search every inch of the vault ceiling, just to make sure he wasn’t watching,
Laughing at me for a poor attempt at praise,
They told me “Talk to Him like you would a friend.”
But when I accepted communion, I swallowed the bread like it was a medicine that didn’t belong in my body,
In my confessions I’d orchestrate sins that I did not commit,
To receive a penance that I did not deserve,
It was always the same,
3 our fathers and 2 hail mary’s
Words that were etched into my mind,
My little hands and I were too young to know what prayer even meant,
On the days I could muster up the courage to challenge their wrongs in my world,
The answer never swayed from “he has bigger things on his mind”,
What they meant was “he has bigger things than you on his mind”,
I remember, one day, asking why some babies died before they were born,
Little people who had never had a chance to do anything wrong,
They told me maybe... it was okay,
Maybe... it was for the better,
Maybe those babies would die a harsher death outside of the womb
and God was just looking out for them,
Confusion brewed in my mind,
So many holes in these miraculous stories sat like colanders in my chest,
These stories came from the same people who say children in cages don’t exist within the barbed wire that holds our country,
Wire that is bursting with hundreds of years of injustices,
Yet they tell me there is a man who lets it all slip past him
The kind that leaves you on read,
Doesn’t answer for weeks- no years- at a time,
I’d been fooled into having a one ended conversation with myself,
With nothing but musty air on the other side,
I’ve always wondered if he ever really was there,
And what if I had been the one who walked away from the table,
And what would’ve happened if I didn’t,
Still, too often I’m left wondering the unanswered questions that
sat on the threshold of every alter,
Now our conversations go like this…
“Hey god, it’s me again,
Are you there?
What’s going on?
Where are you?
Can you hear me?
Why won’t you help me?
Please help me,
I promise i’ll-