Poems & Essays

15 Feb

Where Cool Water Flows

General/Column No Response

Those Sundays, the ladies of the River
of Life First Assembly of God, put down
their babies, put down
their hymnals, pushed down
the pleats of their skirts,
and danced. They danced

a kind of kick-step dance we kids named
in secret the Holy Ghost
Two-Step, the Pentecostal Shuffle. They danced

their gratitude for salvation, their fear
for friends’ and neighbors’ souls. They danced
a return dance for backslidden
children, danced

their collars sweaty, dark
circles under their arms. They danced
sweat trickling behind ears,
hair sticking to necks. They danced

though stockings showed,
though hairdos came loose, they danced
though toes broke through panty hose.

My mother danced.
I watched her from a rough
wooden pew, remembering
that Tuesday when I followed

the sound of Creedence Clearwater Revival
to our kitchen where soup simmered
and bread lay half cut on the counter,
while my mother danced

that kick-step Holy
Ghost Shuffle dance. Take me
back down where cool water
flows. Let me remember
things I love. She danced

as though she had not married
too young, as though we could afford
new winter boots, she danced
as though her father’s desperate prayers

had not followed her so fiercely
into adulthood where she could still hear
him speaking in tongues
outside her room at night. She danced

her apron strings loose, her eyes
open but not seeing
the steam rise thick
from the soup, the bread
on the counter waiting
to be sliced, or me
just beyond the doorway,
careful not to take a breath.

 

Stacy Boe Miller is a metal smith, jewelry artist, writer, mother, and wife. She lives in Moscow, Idaho.

 

 

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Blessings February 15, 2016 Wonder February 15, 2016