On Sundays, the preacher gives everyone a chance
to repent their sins. Miss Edna makes me go

to church. She wears a bright hat
I wear my suit. Babies dress in lace.

Girls my age, some pretty, some not so
pretty. Old ladies and men nodding.

Miss Edna every now and then throwing her hand
in the air. Saying Yes, Lord and Preach!

I sneak a pen from my back pocket,
bend down low like I dropped something.

The chorus marches up behind the preacher
clapping and humming and getting ready to sing.

I write the word HOPE on my hand.

Jacqueline Woodson, "Church" from Locomotion. Copyright © 2003 by Jacqueline Woodson. Used by permission of G. P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.
Source: Locomotion (Puffin Books, 2003)
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