Stranger in a Church by Savannah Sevenzo

One winter morning

a woman comes a stranger

through a church door.

She introduces herself to the person next to her

who says she sounds American.

She is not American, but

she does not know where to say she is from.

She clutches her stomach and thinks about her roots.


In the time it takes

for song to hit stone walls

the sound of voices carries her to other moments

when she has been a stranger;

standing in a cluster of welded friends

whose childhood bonds had formed before they knew her.


And once, swimming nervously in a lake's new waters

with a boy who grew up by its’ side, thinking this lake was the ocean

and he was master of the seas.


She has been a stranger in her own bathtub

speaking on the phone the night before to a man she had met in a bar

and told half her story

and forgotten three quarters of his.


When he asks her to meet

and she tries to remember who it is she is meeting

her toes soak to a shrivel and are not her own.


She had been a stranger in a new country

trying to make her brain swallow whole words in a foreign tongue

and hearing her own voice like the accidental clang of a

symbol in a play's post curtain silence.


At the end of the song

there is a prayer and heads bow

but her head floats

to the ceiling to look at Christ on the window.

When she feels her own mistake

she tries blinking as a way not to be a stranger.

She blinks until she's tearful, yet still

she cannot find God on the floor.