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"The Shallow Before the Hallow by Paula Dawn Lietz
Dusk slid slowly speckling the path I walked and had nicknamed years ago the shallow, a low lying area cutting through protective Oak and Elm trees, a shorter route to where I was headed. Feral cats in heat and skunks knew the beauty of this place, at times we would warily cross paths, yet I trusted them more than those I would soon be with. Peaked summer colors swallowed and digested my thoughts, only here did I feel every part of me belonged to me alone and before I reached the cracked sidewalk and every mother's broken back I knelt to my knees, caressed the earth and licked the salt from her very wounds and murmured I love you. Standing I straightened my skirt and checked my right pocket, in it rolled tightly and secured with an elastic band was my last two months earnings of one dollar bills. Cold elegant carved doors that were once comforting, arched and alive along my footpath now a closed entrance into my own private hell. I felt the essence of whom I was grunt away in one last laboring contraction as I pushed against the solid oak doors.
With eyes downcast and drawn to the burgundy carpet, the red tongue in my mind whispered shame, shame! Do they fashion these places to make you self-conscious? No, I am not ashamed, I feel and have felt for a long time defeated, defiled and despondent. I went through too much shit to go without the wafer and the free cool-aid. I would be damned if I gave it up today of all days, the 22 of July. The reference to the number did not go unnoticed; Psalm 22: "My God, my God why hast thou forsaken me." Through tears I saw the blur of a hand and as a dog waiting for a treat that did all the right tricks I opened my mouth like I did all those other times. The man hiding within the white robes had rubbed my lips just the night before, a tight bastard he was. No wafer or extra dollar to be had by him, but at least here he would not laugh and pull my hair until I cried. I knew the Johns by name and the pews in which they sat deemed their social status. Want to know something? My most prolific clients sat near the front and were ironically the tight and hard-fisted, the ones most vile. Odd how well they knew me horizontal yet never looked at me while I was vertical. When I was little and extremely shy to walk up the aisle as my family place was near the back my Da would press me forward and tell me to pretend I was a great actress and that is what I did now, I pretended I was a Saint. The one the church deemed a sinner, the one they voted to vote for the ability to vote to change their finicky minds so they could make her a Saint. She too was named Mary, a sinner and saint!
Numb and weary I sat heavily upon the steps leading up to the pulpit, looking around I realized that time had no meaning, yet these buildings represented the oldest gathering of humanity whose offspring were now staring at me in disbelief at my unorthodox behavior. This very place that taught right from wrong. I hereby dub thee The House of Thy Hallow Hypocrites. I said no prayer but thought as I had many time leading up to this date my theory, if time has no meaning here of all places than there really is no beginning nor no end and with no beginning nor end there could be no middle, of which we named life. To end this charade I pressed the .32 browning against my temple and pulled the trigger. Yes, I did have a last thought and it was damn it I forgot to place the John's money on the collection plate. The devil felt cheated and bellowed in rage at wasted fresh blood, I watched the water at the baptismal fountain started to turn a dull brownish red. I then left.
The trees danced in joy and swept my soul aloft in celebration, higher than the top of the oldest tree. Giddy in the hurly-burly and joyous I was now a part of the capricious wind as it tumbled me into boundless numen energy of being, past present and future all in one glorious nanosecond.
*Note* Totally fiction/ no reference to self/ others or any particular religion.
Paula Dawn Lietz ( P.D. Lietz) is an accomplished published poet. She is as well an accomplished multi-genre artist and photographer specializing in digital media. Lietz has garnered an impressive range of credits working with various publishers and authors, and revels in the creative energy generated within the artistic and literary community. Pd Lietz’s artwork and photographs are widely sought and are used for book covers, illustrations and other design projects. Lietz is known for her stylistic versatility and pristine work ethic.