Karen J. Weyant

Faith Healer on Hickory Street

We prayed that day for a classmate
confined to a wheelchair,
for my first grade teacher
who had suffered another stroke.
I fidgeted, forced to sit through
adult services because my mother
thought I was old enough.
Summer heat bubbled stained glass,
a fly struggled in a web strung
between two worn hymnals.
Shifting, my skirt riding high
with each twitch, my bare calves
brushed against the wooden pew.
A sudden growth spurt
pushed my lacy top forward,
so that straps cut into my shoulders.
Unsure of how folded hands could help,
I thought of my neighbor
whose gnarled hands once cradled a robin
stunned from a crash with a window,
how she pressed her thumb to its chest,
pushed twice, three times,
before she paused, as if waiting to feel more
than a thin pulse beneath her own skin.

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