To church we wear pretty, pretty dresses
and shiny, shiny shoes. The mothers sit beside us
with pearls and lipstick and their knees
pressed together. The fathers and brothers
sit with their knees apart or an ankle resting
on the opposite knee. We try to sit
with our legs together, but our thighs
want to spread out against the wooden
pew, to melt like cookie dough on a hot
baking sheet, through the choir’s somber hymns,
through the sharing of joys and concerns,
through the scripture and the sermon and the
peace-be-with-you’s. Outside, our shiny, shiny
shoes wink in the sunshine and rub little
blisters (like bubbles of laughter, unreleased)
inside the lace-trimmed socks on our
skinny, skinny feet.
Linda Ferguson‘s work has been published in Mount Hope, Santa Fe Literary Review, Cloudbank and other journals. She’s won awards for her poetry as well as an award for lyrical nonfiction from Perceptions Magazine of the Arts. She’s also received a Pushcart nomination for fiction from Gold Man Review. Her poetry chapbook, Baila Conmigo, was published by Dancing Girl Press. She teaches creative writing for adults and children.
Sam Slaughter is a spirits writer living in the New York City area. He received his BA from Elon University and his MA from Stetson University. He writes for The Manual and his fiction and nonfiction have appeared in a variety of places, including Midwestern Gothic, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and Heavy Feather Review. He was awarded the 2014 Best of There Will Be Words and his debut chapbook When You Cross That Line was published in May 2015. His debut short story collection God in Neon was published in 2016 published by Lucky Bastard Press. He loves playing with puppies and a good glass of bourbon.