An Atheist Goes to Church by Rose Menyon Heflin

An Atheist Goes to Church

An Atheist Goes to Church

by Rose Menyon Heflin

Every Sunday morning during church,
Somewhere between taking the curve
On the hill at Pea Ridge too quickly
And shaking the preacher’s hand
Down at the First Baptist congregation,
Something miraculously appears
In the empty field
Just past the Shumakers’ place.

It’s always gone by Wednesday,
But it’s always there, nonetheless,
Like clockwork
After hymns and tithes and prayers.

It’s typically something large and imposing,
Yet, I’m left wondering how many of the rural speeders
Take the time to notice it between texting,
Fiddling with the radio dials,
And yelling at the kids in the backseat.

No one ever mentions it.
It’s never, “Hey! How ‘bout that nice armchair
Out by the Shumakers’ this week?”
It makes me wonder if I’m the only one who sees it,
If I’m actually driving too slow at twenty over the limit.

I’m also left wondering just where the stuff goes.
Does someone take pity and haul it off to the county dump,
Or does it all find new homes somewhere in the countryside?
Alas, its destination remains as mysterious as its origin.

Sometimes I wonder if it’s ever there at all.
If armchairs ever existed in that field . . .
Then I wonder if armchairs ever existed
And fields, too, for that matter.

Luckily, though, I have from Thursday morning
Until when church lets out to revel in my sanity.
Wednesdays don’t count,
Since that’s when I am most doubtful,
Aside from Sundays, of course.


Rose Menyon Heflin resides in Madison, Wisconsin.  Her poetry won a Merit Award from Arts for All Wisconsin.  One of her poems was choreographed and performed by a local dance troupe.  She had a creative nonfiction piece featured in the Chazen Museum of Art’s Companion Species exhibit.  Among other venues, her recent and forthcoming publications include Defunkt Magazine, The Ekphrastic Review, Fauxmoir, Feral, Great Lakes Review, Poemeleon, sPARKLE & bLINK, and Tangled Locks Journal’s MoonBites.

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