Speaking in Tongues

When the sun set on Jerusalem,
I watched the ultra-Orthodox sway
in prayer at the Wailing Wall.
I heard the adhan, but I could not enter
the mosque as I am.

At the Holy Sepulchre, I remembered
the mantra my transcendental meditation
guru gave me when I was six.
There was no God in my childhood home,
just Nietzsche angst quelled by om.

Funny, even though you grew up
filled with the Holy Spirit ,
you did not learn how
to speak in tongues
until I baptized you
with my sweat.

I know nothing of your God,
but I know everything about surrendering
to your body and your mouth
breathing life into me.

I want to say sweet Jesus
and amen when I hold your body
so tightly that I feel like I’ve been resurrected.

In my bed, your heart
beats an ancient hymn
that sounds like home to me.
I am still godless but you have given me
something I can believe in.

—Candice G. Ball

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