Three Poems by William Woolfitt

Grassy Branch Pentecostal Church, Interior Space

all rectangles, plank benches, walls 
the color of mushrooms or eggshells
ceiling of poplar, high, unadorned, 
whip-sawed, people waiting, heads 
bowed, not moving yet, dry leaves 

before the wind swirls, Bible stand 
with wings on the sides, pitcher 
and cups on one wing, mints 
on the other, people with raised arms,
open hands, bulbs hanging 

from wires, no brightness 
before the power comes
body as tabernacle, as ball jar
clean, bare, made ready
pressing along

Grassy Branch Pentecostal Church, Velvet Painting 
of the Last Supper

when the prayers of the brothers 
and sisters come as slamming waves, 
he feels warm, for a moment,
unburdened, clean, then he looks up,
catches the eye of clumsy Judas, 
green as a snake, elbowing the salt
shaker and spilling out bad luck, 
help him, he thinks, tell him to put back
the rope, the coins, the field of blood, 
the kiss, then he looks into his hands, 
the pink lines, the cheats, a scale of skin

Grassy Branch Pentecostal Church, Quilt over 
the Sleeping Baby

while the people dance at the altar rail, 
sing at the top of their lungs, laugh 
and sob, the Jacob’s ladder quilt draped 
over the bench makes a room of hush 
for the baby on a pillow on the floor, 
keeping to herself what dreams 
may visit in that muffled cell, 
dark as the face of the deep, 
hidden as the snail-shell 
spiraling in the seam of coal

William Woolfitt is the author of the poetry collections Beauty Strip (Texas Review Press, 2014) and Charles of the Desert (Paraclete Press, 2016). His poems and stories have appeared in Blackbird, Image, Tin House, The Threepenny Review, Crab Orchard Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Epoch, and other journals.

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