Sarah Sullivan

Also Heard at Church That Day
by Sarah Sullivan

Kneeling after singing made it easier to hear
what the wrinkled lady with the big black bag

murmured even after the choir came to quiet.
You heard her call the lilies God, except

she called their scent God,
and the scent of the wine

she did not sip as you knelt
to her right at the front of the church,
waiting for a blessing. At your side,
a mother held her children’s hands

and you could hear them sniffle,
for they could smell God.

You saw it in their cheeks.
Then you watched them in their pew.

They belted out the hymns, except
they sang about Old MacDonald, who is almost

the same as Noah, who built the ark, who is almost
the same as God, now heard

through the whispers of the lady
with the black bag,

and in the children’s warbling,
And you smelled God rise up

through the faint must
of the faded hand-stitched kneeler

and then you saw God flame the wick, drip
down the taper, fill the apse.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 23, Issue 3.

Sarah SullivanSarah Sullivan, of Northampton, MA, is a poet, physician, teacher, ocean-lover, partner, parent, friend, meditator, searcher. She is published in several journals, including Switchgrass Review and Sixfold; anthologies, and has three chapbooks: While it Happened; Together, In Pieces; and Somewhere There is Always Enough. She is currently enrolled at Pacific University in the Masters of Fine Arts program in Poetry. Her website is

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