In The Pew

On a Lenten Sunday morning

with the ten unambiguous rules

of conduct that God delivered

the focus of the sermon which

is both ambiguous and confusing

and far too conversant in the

lower-case S version of sin,

insisting it is we who must do

the forgiving rather than mention

anything so ponderous as the

upper-case S version of which

apparently we shall not speak

lest it raise it’s snake’s head and

hissing, remind us how we made

it ours even though we keep it

in the dark, we think, where it is

over-fed and under-confessed.


And yet the woman in the pew

ahead who arrived a minute late

and breathless loosed her scarf

and revealed an unkempt braid

coiled up high and clipped in place

though a curl at the end escaped

and flopped to and fro with

the rhythm of the hymns.


I reach for the clip praying that if

this small mess were undone,

her hair smoothed and divided into

a trinity of equal parts and without

hurry woven neatly over again so

that curl is tamed to twist ‘round

the finger of God, this hour might be

redeemed and a small portion of our

collective Sin given up to grace.


© Dana Hughes 3.3.18

2 thoughts on “In The Pew

  1. At first, I thought, “this is a different Dana poem, one that tackles the big questions head on, philosophically.” But then you did what you do so well, turn a woman’s disheveling hairdo into a metaphor for the grand theological realities, and I realized I was home again. More and more these days, I find myself walking away unsatisfied from the preachments of even those with whom I agree, yearning for a language that affirms without arguing, provides without proving, makes a space for my wandering mind on its long strange walk in the woods. You did that here. Thanks. May all braids be Trinities, and may all stray locks be serpents brought to heel in their perichorean intertwining.

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