Praying They Won’t Kill Them

A Poem by Patricia Wallace Jones
 
Cradle-born to the high church,
she spent every turn from Epiphany
to Nativity on a needlepoint kneeler
her great-grandmother stitched
until that warm July Sunday
in ’74, when she bore a son with seizures,
one they quickly suggested
was best left at home.

They still send their newsletters,
appeals for funds, announce
parish meetings to discuss what to do
about the ravens that jump up and down
on the roof, their litany of caws
that drown out the priest.

When she shows at St. Michael and All Angels,
she slips into a pew, takes her place
at the back, leaves before the sermon
and Eucharist—fed now,
not by thin wafers and wine,
stories she can no longer swallow,
but by the music, candles and incense,