standing barefoot on the bible

Mandy Shunnarah

I’m grounded, lamenting my lack of preteen growth spurt, gravity keeping me from the top shelf. Two phone books
won’t do, so I add the family Bible. A golden-edged tome
with white plush cover, the kind sold door-to-door by
cons in the ’50s when sedo and teta immigrated to this
country. Back when Long Island was still potato farms &
the right of return was in near enough memory that sedo
kept his old housekey next to his worry beads. They prayed
to the Christian god they could have their country back;
let their grandchildren never know America, this land
that teaches them to use Bibles as step ladders. As if holy
books are not an attempt at ascension to the divine.
O lift me higher, three books of the enumerated names
of ancestors and saints, thick as the wood of any cross.

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