Salt in July
Grandpa brought us to his church
some Sunday mornings
after we slept over
and before he would let us escape
to the swim club,
strange in its chemical blue beauty.
Alive with the vibrating
bodies of divers
and old ladies peeling in lacy petals.
We begged to visit the snack stand
which drew us at noon from
our deep dream of breathing beneath the water.
The church was a smooth hollow
we found ourselves fallen,
where sounds and time stood strange.
The priest’s voice shrouded,
refracting stained glass.
We burned our fingers on its blue.
Mesmerized, memorized shapes in windows
of men contorted, conflicted in pleasure.
Pagan children, we melted wafers
and prayed to new gods,
imagined our exhales bent cool blue.
Grandpa bent in prayer,
his athlete’s limbs gnarled as storm-trees
sloughing off old ills.
We watched, we chased his patterns of faith,
strange as lullabies grow over time.
Shannon Cuthbert is a writer and artist living in Brooklyn. Her poems have appeared in Gingerbread House, Collidescope, and Enchanted Conversation, among others. Her work is forthcoming in Dodging the Rain and Schuylkill Valley Journal.