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They say statues wept
when she passed—gypsy girl
in the choir who spoke
in tongues. I thought she
was faking, but prayed,
just in case, that I would
never babble, or, during the peace,
slump over and writhe. I hid
behind my knotted hair
to plot her exposé. Her
and her clan of women, smoke
and mirror Christians
hogging the potluck roast,
flocking to the best cuts
in a cloud of scarves
and perfume. Mother looked
back at me, me with my
tell-it-like-it-is tongue,
my sundress in haste
on backwards, and I knew
she wished for an afflicted girl
sick enough to sass in a holy fire,
one who wept not tears but oil,
or blood. Charisma, same page
as Charlemagne in the dictionary
a giant with brown ringlets
handling the church like a dollhouse
in his hands. Like her—imposter,
and but for me the congregation rapt—
white robes, white purse, white gloves,
white sandals on her feet as if
that were veil enough
to make me believe her whole
body were made of light.

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