As a youngster I was dragged to Sunday service,
sat brooding in a middling distance pew,
wedged amongst my mother, grandmother, and sister,
jerking awake against the pastor’s droning tide.
Occasionally I’d nod into hellbent dozing,
only to be elbowed by my mom, if she were part of the immediate wedging,
or given a small arm slap should she lean over to revive me.
Eventually, hallelujah, she joined the choir,
and my grandmother and sister were less zealous to wake me,
so Sunday’s torture session on the hard wooden pews
became welcome slumber time.
Most days my sister or grandmother would finally nudge me
back to the real world as the service ended,
the exit processional in progress,
me groggily apprehending our pastor’s flowing robes and fluttering stole as he strode
jaunty and smiling for the exit, Bible gripped in hand,
ready to greet every parishioner with boundless enthusiasm,
staring up into his gold-rimmed glasses,
he kidding me about my sleep patterns.
Eventually I became more involved in the goings-on,
catechized acolyte, even regular reader of the weekly scripture lesson,
my own voice droning through the congregation,
where I could see younger members,
heads jolting upright at parental prodding.
I left that all behind, in the middle of senior year in high school.
By then the pastor who knew my slothful ways had long moved on,
and the one who served most of my time there
knew me only as a most devout and awakened servant of God.