The God of my childhood stood at the front of the church
Before the polished veneer of pews,
Like a college prof addressing a
Lecture hall of attentive students,
except God did not entertain questions.

Our mealtime grace at home,
Formal and repetitive,
Was offered to the air quickly
Before the mashed potatoes got cold.

I joined the church at 12
After proving to the elders
That I could memorize the books of the Bible.
I stood, in my while dress, and muttered “I do”
to statements I did not understand.

At 18, I chose a college at random,
Too far away for a day trip for my parents,
And found myself at a Southern Baptist college
in the “Bible Belt,”
A term I had not heard.

Here, God wore a different face.
Here, he spoke with a twang
A folksy grandpa, hiding his lessons
in the tales of women going for water at the well
and disciples falling asleep on the job.

He continued to shapeshift,
like a superhero, to save me from falling
From the tallest building
And hitting reality below.