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.