How He Writes those Sermons

Pastor Holding Bible
How He Writes those Sermons
by Holly Day

he said he could take it or leave it, or maybe it was
some other trite cliché, laughing at me
as though i’d given him dogshit for his birthday
as though i was dogshit. i waited until church was over
before sneaking out past the rest of my family
i wanted to hide somewhere. i wanted to cry.

there were memories born in the garage out back
that i wished dead, i could give or take them, too
if i could, except i couldn’t take back those fingers
his hot breath on my neck, i could still smell his wreck
on my skin. i wiped myself down after he left

thought of his birthday, how now we were together
thought of his birthday and what i could give him
something else, something i hadn’t given him already
i could take or leave that memory, too. “come,”
my mom said right away, right when she came out
saw me red-faced and angry standing alone
her usual after-church socializing forgotten.
she was quiet all the way home.

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