Posted at 14:43h
North Dakota Quarterly, a literary print journal out of, you guessed it, University of North Dakota, has published one of my essays. Thank you to the editorial staff and all the readers who volunteer their time.
The Winter 2016 issue was printed so I am free to include it in its entirety here. Happy reading.
CHATTER TURNED TO SILENCE AS
as twenty women encircled me. Most bowed their heads, while a handful snuck me a smile. Trapped dead center, I shifted from foot to foot, flushed and antsy. I was supposed to be touched by their kindness, but the truth was, I hated prayer chambers. They reeked of creepy tent revivals on TV, where preachers in white suits spit scripture and women swoon as they’re overtaken by the Holy Spirit. I wanted to scream, “This isn’t me. I’m a lesbian from New England.” I wanted them to know that all this God business was a bunch of bullshit, and that prayer was nothing but a Band-Aid to make us all feel better.
But to say that would have been rude, and the hard, humiliating truth was, after twelve weeks in this metaphysics class, I wasn’t so sure what I believed anymore. The idea of being bathed in good intentions wasn’t altogether unpleasant—especially before my breast surgery in the morning.
Shoving my hands deep in my pockets, I closed my eyes. In a strong, sure voice, our teacher began with Dear Sweet Spirit…
and my classmates joined her in an orchestra of voices. While some people muttered quietly under their breath, others spoke at full volume, and I was soon submerged in a humming beehive of prayer.