Though she says she does not

believe most of it, my grandmother

kneels beside me in church each Sunday,

tickling my arm with the lace

on her handkerchief, the one with

nickels knotted into the corner

so I will have something

to put into the offering plate.


I don’t know when I first

notice that some of the stained

glass windows are worse

than my nightmares,

or when I first understand

that the story of King Solomon

and the two mothers

isn’t quite right.


But Grandmother says not to worry,

that the day they drove

all the way from the farm

to the Courthouse

through a hundred-year flood

to get me, praying they wouldn’t

be late, even the angels

must have been nervous.


Still, my adoptive mom

refuses to discuss it,

and even though my grandfather

likes to tell how he

warmed me inside his shirt

all the way back home

because he loved me,

at first sight,

I keep seeing that moon,

swollen, on the horizon

their only source of light.


But whenever the aunts

whisper in the kitchen

or my grandfather

whistles the sad tunes

he says he can never

remember the words to–

whenever Father Anselm

gets to the part about Abraham and Sarah,

I know that my mom

longs for miracles,

believing that if only she

prays hard enough

God will undo

what an Ohio doctor

did to her

when she was a girl

because he was too drunk

to identify her appendix.


And, like her,

I  really want to believe

there‘s a chapter in the Bible

we haven’t heard yet,

one which says it would be

perfectly natural

to want to hack Lana Seminski’s

tongue in half

for telling me what no one

ever wanted me to know

in the first place–

that somewhere there is a God

who can take two halves of a baby

and put it together so

everything will be perfect

once again.


copyright: Alinda Dickinson Wasner

-From Detroit Metro Times, all rights reserved