Season Seven, Episode Two: Benediction

sundays

–growing up, sundays were for family
that’s what dad always said–

mom woke us up early
took us to church, where we sat on the kneelers and listened to father mcgonegal,
his big booming voice talking about god and jesus and how we should be better human beings 
i used to sit on the padded kneelers and draw on the back of the sunday bulletin with a pen my mom had buried at the bottom of her purse
careful not to press too hard on the paper because i was afraid if i accidentally wrote on the wooden bench of the pew
god would somehow know and be disappointed in me.
(i was too young to be pissing off omnipotent deities)
not really paying attention to the broadway musical of the liturgy of the eucharist going on behind me
this is the blood of the new and everlasting covenant, do this in memory of me

–years later i would sneak away during mass to the cvs across the street, losing myself among the lip glosses and single slabs of eyeshadows that i’d sometimes fantasize about slipping in my pocket 
because dad would forget to give me my allowance and i was afraid to remind him
always making my way back to church just in time for communion–

sundays were for family

back at home
mom would make bacon and eggs and pancakes
grits for dad, he loved to put half a block of cheddar cheese in them
dad’s breakfast was first, especially if he had drank his first breakfast before we came back from mass
if mom didn’t take care of dad first, there would be screaming and yelling 
and sometimes dad’s fist would find mom’s cheekbone
then she would cry,
saltwater mixed with bacon grease, 
a brunch version of christ’s baptism

sundays were for family

if my friends called, i would have to quickly talk and then hang up the phone 
because the lord’s day wasn’t for the things i could do on saturday
and lashawn you are always on that phone a bit too much, always running your mouth about some nonsense 
why don’t you come over here so i can show you what tonight’s pick three is gonna be
i dreamed about your great uncle again, that means death, 769 is gonna come out or maybe his birthday, 214
where the fuck is your mother, i bet she’s sitting in the kitchen reading some damn book again 
when i was your age i had to sit and read the bible on sunday afternoon or else i’d get the switch 
i would sit there and half listen, watching him spend my allowance on state licensed and operated number running
i wasn’t quite sure gambling was part of the lord’s day

sundays were for family 

hop the top for twenty, horn high aces for five 
doesn’t anyone here spend time with their family, it’s sunday
hands throwing twenties into the center of the table,
dice hitting the back wall and landing on 7
that final stanza of the biblical sabbath,
off-broadway but juliet still always dies
cleaning up the cheques just to set them up again
father mcgonegal sermonizes no more,
his pastorage taken because he got high on pig tranquilizers and asked a park ranger for a quickie 
go in peace to love and serve the lord

sundays 

–07/29/2018

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