The Church Pew


Jerry L. Hurley

The church pew sitting on my front porch

once lived at the Firstborn Church of the Living God

which stood for years a few blocks

from my house in Apalachicola.

A Pentecostal Holiness church so I’ve been told.

I can imagine the dark-skinned worshippers

baking in the summer heat with thin cardboard

fans provided by the funeral home down the street.

Who sat on my bench, who laughed and wept and cried

Hallelujah , Praise Jesus and Amen?”

Or spoke out loud in unknown tongues,

filled with the spirit of God.

Who stood and sat and stood and sat with feet

that could not be still and restless arms reaching up.

What children, scrubbed clean with pinching shoes

listened to the grownups and rolled their eyes in amazement?

This place of great magic and wide-eyed wonder

opened a door to a different yet familiar place in their world.

Finally the altar call for those unsaved to bathe

in the blood of the lamb.

Hands upon their backs they were rescued

from the fires of hell.

Sure hope they didn’t backslide next Saturday night

but walked the straight and narrow.

If only my pew could speak and tell me of mysteries unknown.