The room is dominated by a crucifix
crucified to the wall.
At the front of the aisle,
the preacher stands.
His feet shuffle on the carpet.
His arms raise toward Heaven.
A tingle creeps up my arms,
the details of crucifixion
making themselves known along my skin.
Sitting on the hardwood pew,
my feet barely touch carpet.
The girl beside me picks at her hangnails.
The Preacher moves down the aisle
amidst hallelujah!s and amen!s,
pointing at the crucifix looming
in the background, slapping his palm
against his Bible, mimicking nails.
I stare at the carpet.
A carpet of dryness grows inside my mouth
as the Preacher makes his way
down the aisle. A line of sweat grows
in the crux of my back
as the shadow of the crucifix
leans over the congregation.
Moving back toward the crucifix
at the front of the aisle, the Preacher
makes dark tracks in the carpet.
Arms raise like Hosanna palm
branches as he begins to pray,
beckoning converts with arcs of his arm.
The crucifix sits affixed to the wall, nailed
to plaster and wooden beams. I walk
toward it and the preacher, making the slow
pilgrimage of new believers, carving my own dark
tracks into the carpet.
I raise my arms.