Stories of Doubt is a Doubters Anonymous series featuring the reflections of members of the community. Stories are shared in a spirit of understanding and healing, and reflect the personal beliefs and experiences of the person sharing, not necessarily the group as a whole. We are always accepting new stories and would love to hear yours at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Babies startle, look up when the bells of the censer
start jingling. The hymn begins quietly: Taste and see
that the Lord is good. Bodies crowd into
the middle aisle and a godfather says to his godson,
Let’s go eat Jesus. Can you taste a god? When the priest
tilts the spoon, the liquid trickles onto my tongue,
bitter as wilting petals around the Mother’s face.
Expectation is thick as incense smoke here,
with each kiss given to a saint, a prayer passed.
Silent witnesses to our suffering, or your faithfulness.
They are the only ones who stand up for you.
No one hated you as much as I did when
the thorns ripped my hands as I picked fruit
from the gooseberry bush. No one gives you credit
for the ones you save when the earth or its waters
roar up, eat their fill of humans. Like a mother
deer, I herd my younglings to light candles before
the icons of their respective saints, perform
the tasks that I’ve been genetically programmed
to do. Is that right? We are the puppets
you handle on strings, you laugh at our backward
bends, awkward moves. I teach my children
to obey this dance, I hear their voices implore you.
Why do you always expect me to believe?
I’ve waited too long, and now the light is extinguished.
Karissa Knox Sorrell is a poet and ESOL teacher from Nashville, Tennessee. She is the author of the poetry chapbook Evening Body and a contributor to the anthology Soul Bare, forthcoming from InterVarsity Press in August 2016. She often processes her faith wrestling through writing and reading poetry. Connect with Karissa at karissaknoxsorrell.com or on Twitter @KKSorrell.