Out of nowhere, I started writing something new. I don’t know what I’m going to do with it yet. I don’t know what it means. I don’t know how it will continue. I don’t know if it’s going to end up with a clear plot or end up being this weird, meandering, post-modern narrative. But I do know one thing. I like it. I like it very, very much.
“After the mouths went one way, entire bodies went to church. They filled wooden pews. Their backs ached from sitting so straight but it seemed right to demonstrate such proper posture. I sat near the back, remaining out of the way. Bodies packed in around me. We were anchovies in a religious can. We were sardines tucked tight into a pious net. We sat like so: |_ |_ |_. We were so good, so quiet, so sweet. We were everything the religious men would ever want. We kept the hymnals folded on our laps. We opened our mouths in prayers, then clapped our hands over our lips to keep from saying more. We muttered only what we were told. We recited, we repeated, we fell silent. Above our head, rotten leather shells swung from the flying buttresses and wooden crossbeams. Whenever the church doors swung open, a warm breeze came in as well, pushing the old shoes on their lines. The shoes were the last body parts belonging to the old, dead priests. The shoe tongues were so far gone that they vomited saw dust onto our heads. The priest beckoned us to walk to the front of the church and when we did, he laid his hands upon us, first one head, then another. He brushed his fingers through our hair. He shook our hair until the powder came off like dandruff.”
TRUE STORY NOTE: The shoes referenced in the piece actually exist. Or, they did exist, years ago, when I went to Spain. In one of the cathedrals, our group’s tour guide explained that the shoes of deceased priests were strung up from the rafters in remembrance of their dedication to the church. Old leather shoes hung in the air above our heads, moving slightly, then not at all. It was something I’ve never forgotten.