Friday, February 29, 2008

born again

a hot june night
windows wrenched open,
box fans thrumming from opposite ends of our duplex side
forming a sticky wind tunnel
lights out except for the dim glow of streetlamp and oven bulb
not sleeping

i did not want to spend eternity in hell

kneeling in front of the stereophonic, late of:
      miles (father: "before the sellout")
ready to be saved

revival had closed that late spring saturday
three hours in a giant (to eight-year old eyes) round tent
white as Christ’s raiment
a glowing canvas citadel on a loaned hayfield

i had not heeded the altar call
a half-hour of fire and brimstone poured out of God’s messenger
in sweat and tears
yet i had not heeded the call
fellow congregants making their way towards God’s forgiveness
kneeling in supplication
embraced in fellowship by Christian brethren
but i had not heeded the call

i did not want to spend eternity in hell

preacher had gotten to me
had seduced my fears out of the
places fears hide
“all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”
but my legs would not move my soul full of transgressions
towards the altar
towards blessed eternal life
fear of exposure momentarily overriding
my chance at redemption

i did not want to spend eternity in hell

i had awakened my parents
standing behind me while i knelt in front of the stereophonic console-altar
“to god be the glory” spinning on the turntable softly
so as not to wake my sisters
the air full of midwestern mysticism

i did not want to spend eternity in hell

i prayed
i recognized Christ as my lord and savior
i confessed my sins to God and pleaded forgiveness
i begged to be saved from fiery damnation
i was born again

parents clutching me in an embrace made damp
by june and mother’s tears
      we’ll talk more in the morning
      we love you
      we’re so proud of you
      jesus loves you
      go to sleep
whispered as we wandered back to bed

still not sleeping

i do not want to spend eternity in hell

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