M. Stone, “First-Generation Apostate”

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First-Generation Apostate

I wonder what else I might have learned
had I not spent so much of my childhood
memorizing the names of Old Testament books
in their exact order.

Habakkuk. I always fumbled the pronunciation,
but no matter—I needed only to spell it correctly
for the Bible Studies test, and the teacher
didn’t dwell on that particular book anyhow.

Scripture sprouted from the nooks and crannies
of our house: King James Versions, New Testament
pocket-sized editions, easy-to-understand translations
complete with illustrations

and my late grandmother’s personal Bible
in which she wrote:

I have read the whole Bible through in 1987.
I am reading the Bible through again in 1988.
I have read the Bible through in April 1989.

On and on, the tally scrolls down the page.
I recognize the obsessive behavior I inherited;
that same terror of being cast into hell
licked at my heels for twenty years.

When I moved out and found a place of my own,
I refused to take a single Good Book with me,

not even the one engraved with my name
and bearing the date of my salvation.


M. Stone is a bookworm, birdwatcher, and stargazer who writes poetry while living in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in San Pedro River Review, SOFTBLOW, Calamus Journal, and numerous other print and online journals. She can be reached at writermstone.wordpress.com.


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