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Poetry

Empty Seats on Sunday

Jennifer E. Donnell

We sit around on a Sunday afternoon
and discuss how
Our Church
can get more members.

There’s no door to door,
no phone calls or
false modesty,
and no one shows up.

Down the street they
are booming with business-
In Korean they explain
why Jesus died and
detail the flow of his blood
through the middle of
his palms,
and no one leaves
until they feel like
a sinner
that will only ever be
on the mend.

While on Sundays
we meditate,
and talk about
the different concepts of God
as equal, just
buds in a garden where nothing
needs to be picked
for a fancy display,
where nothing needs to be
killed in order to impress.

When I first came,
church was still a dirty word,
hard to speak.
I was a spiritual agnostic,
but enough of
an optimist
to feel that maybe
Quantum Physics
was onto something.

At Our Church,
we wonder why
learning about
people from Africa to here,
and the more positive commonalities between
spiritual teachers
like Buddha, Jesus,
and Gandhi,
isn’t
more popular.

My church is the
nerdy kid in high school-
We don’t send out
voting guides,
or propaganda,
and the seats stay empty.

While the church down the street
leaves flyers on our cars,
which read,

You can still save your self.
It’s never too late.

It’s never too late
to live with a pit in the middle
of your stomach,
plant the seed of a wilting idea.

It’s never too late
to walk through life
feeling broken,
or insufficient,
And have your votes decided
by an email
from your church.

My church could probably
beat up your church-
but we’re pacifists meditating from
the comfort of
a half deserted room,
learning that peace
isn’t always as popular
as fear.

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