Megan Snyder-Camp

Church

Our church was all brick, no name on it
and no stained glass. Every few years
a new preacher took over and tried to make us sing.
One told us Wile E. Coyote’s lifelong quest
for the Road Runner was like us hungering for Jesus.
He said we all know Coyote never gets
the Road Runner. We said that’s right. But no.
No, my friends: one time, Coyote
gets exactly what he prayed for. That skippety
Road Runner gets fat on radioactive birdseed
and this seed is the seed of Godliness, our Road Runner
big as a skyscraper. And Wile E. Coyote’s dedication,
his constant prayers for this one thing, his need
to hold the baby Jesus in his own hands,
to not have to take it on faith—he gets what he wants.
That’s right. Wile E. Coyote catches up
with the Road Runner, who’s now a thousand times
his size. He grabs hold of the Road Runner’s leg
with his tiny little hand. He’s caught him.
Coyote never thought this would happen. He’s built
his whole life around this one goal. Put himself
out of work is what he’s done, my friends.
Our Coyote holds up a little sign
saying “now what?” We waited.
Then one Sunday the preacher’s gone, a stranger
in his place, wearing his robes. The fan
on high, lilies asea. One of you, he shouts, is free.
One of you will not have to pay the piper.
One of you will walk this earth and you shall not
stumble and you shall not thirst. One of you
is lost and you shall not be found. We left,
each one of us. Some did come back. Some
only went as far as the laundry line before missing
the feel of slippers on carpet. Some watched the sky
that night and took comfort in the blinking radio tower.
Some flew. There was so much to be undone.

 

Megan Snyder-Camp’s first collection, The Forest of Sure Things (2010), won the Tupelo Press/Crazyhorse First Book Award. She has received grants and residencies from the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, Djerassi, the 4Culture Foundation, and the HJ Andrews Experimental Forest. Her work has recently been featured on the PBS NewsHour.


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