a place called church

it had white cinder block walls
and pews with green velvet cushions
the kind of cushions you could rub one way and then the other to make a pattern when you were a kid
bored during the sunday sermon at big church
she curled up on the pew
and thought of her dad there
at the end of the row
he always sat at the end of the row
second pew from the back
she thought of him in his suit and his red tie
his arm around her
her head leaning on his shoulder
even when she was older
even when she came home from college
his aftershave
brut
and the coarse smoothness of his face
just shaved
she pictured the shaky jowls of the pastor
his small eyes glowing while he preached
she remembered listening intently
cutting her eyes to glance at her dad now and again
looking forward to the conversation they would have in the truck
on the way home
cracking themselves up with their philosophizing
laughing as they opened the back door into the kitchen
which would smell like butter beans and fried pork chops and fried corn bread
where her mama would be sweating
wearing shorts in the kitchen