The church is preaching Springsteen. The marquee west of the highway said it, not me. Last week, BORN TO RUN. This week, HUNGRY HEART. Next week, I’ve got twenty on GLORY DAYS at 10 AM because I know Bruce is gospel.
Could we go Baptist just for the sermon? “Just for fun,” I said, chiding. I want to be a voyeur on our old life in NEBRASKA. In the church pew. In the ecstasy of a shared fervor. Do you remember all the times we promised our lives to greater good? We bowed, raised our hands, bowed, raised our hands. And when we left that field of belief, we never spoke of evangelical hogwash again. As if the routine of coffee, eggs, guitar anthem after guitar anthem, and passing of the peace never existed. As if it hadn’t meant something, the linchpin of our well-oiled forward motion.
Remember how I used to sway in the pew, my hips such delicate figure eights? Dancing like I danced at concerts—in the dark. I’ve always been a little too shy to really feel it, to let myself pray. Watch me move my mouth like I know what it’s asking. Which is always the past, a redoing it. Our church was a high school gymnasium. But those are boring stories of glory days. Bruce said it, not me.
Erica Trabold is the author of Five Plots (Seneca Review Books, 2018), winner of the inaugural Deborah Tall Lyric Essay Book Prize and a 2019 Nebraska Book Award, and the chapbook Dots (Ghost Proposal, 2021). Her essays appear in Literary Hub, The Rumpus, Passages North, Blood Orange Review, Essay Daily, and elsewhere. She is a Visiting Assistant Professor at Sweet Briar College in central Virginia.
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