Raych Jackson – “Church Girl Learns to Pray Again”


One: I dread
when the food comes at restaurants. Our family prays over each meal. The saint’s routine is embarrassing. I keep my eyes open when my dad starts, my secret act of resistance. We pray during car rides. I watch the world go by out the window. We pray on the edge of my parents’ bed
every night before we go to sleep. I still get a nightmare. My parents pray to remind God
they’re still here. I stay quiet and hope God forgets me. Two: God prefers to listen
to his saint over a druggie. I beg my mom to pray
for me when I’m too high. Everything is a punishment. I understand what I did wrong. The worst type of sinner is the sinner
who knows better. And I tell her I’ll come to church. My mom offers to come to my house instead. I put her on speaker, stay quiet
and hope God forgets me. Three: His house is a sanctuary
I’ve invaded for a week. When I’m away from him,
he prays for my safety. I stay here to save his breath. The worst type of sinner
is the sinner who knows better, and I’m a heathen falling in love
with a soul I don’t deserve. In the morning,
he rests his hand on my head, and I pretend to be asleep. I tell myself he’s checking for a fever. I hear him pray for me in the silence. I stay quiet and hope God forgives me. Four: Our kitchen is small. We bump into each other cooking. We’re trying to merge the skills
our moms taught us to survive, and this apartment is our ragged kingdom. We play games while taping the windows
and platonically shower to save hot water. We pray over the food before we eat, a familiar routine I didn’t know I miss. I let him lead
because I am out of practice. His granny also taught him to thank God
before asking for a favor. He thanks God for the hands
that made this food, my hands. I don’t hear the rest. I’m fumbling through my own prayer. Five: I practice praying
while he snores in my ear. His sighs are my cheat code. God must have a soft spot for me. I’m not dead yet. I made half my rent through poetry. I maintain a relationship with my family. I’m ready to lead and ask for help. I perfect my “amen”
to close out future prayers. I nudge him in his sleep
to soften the snores. He reaches out to hold me
without opening an eye. “Thank you, God, Amen,” I whisper. How can I claim
God doesn’t listen to sinners? How else could I get such a blessing? (applause)

49 thoughts on “Raych Jackson – “Church Girl Learns to Pray Again”

  1. ‘The worst type of sinner,is the sinner that knows better’ 🤧

  2. Trying figure how to get back to catholic while while being beyond liberal. Thank you so much for this poem. It resonates with me so much.
    The only problem is: someone please tell me what to do with the an lgbt ally inside screaming “hell no” upon remembering that only church I could almost call safe’s got anti-pride invitation leaflets next to the donation box. My hands shake every time I run into humans there. (Ain’t no Anglican Churches in Kiev, triple-checked that)

  3. He never forgets his children. He will leave the 99 for the one who walked away. Thank you for the poem

  4. کانچ کی چوڑی لے کر میں جب تک لوٹا
    اس کے ھاتھ میں سونے کا کنگن تھا😥

  5. I walked away from my faith when I was in high school and it took a while for me to find it again, especially being gay in a judgmental church, but I’ve realized that we make our own church, by surrounding ourselves with people who worship god and who believe that he would want us to love each other before anything else

  6. I totally cried. I almost forgot how to be grateful to God, just because the situation I'm currently in is too much painful. Thank you for this!!

  7. I love her passion I need to adopt this style, still working on my confidence… love the sinner line….

    just uploaded my first Live performance on my YouTube channel feel free to take a look I've not been doing it for very long! taken the courage to share my poems with you…

  8. I think this poem is great. Even if I’m not that religious I still enjoyed it.

  9. The worst type of sinner, is the sinner that knows better OH MY GODDDD

  10. The applause was not loud enough. She should’ve gotten a standing ovation because WOW.

  11. Why you scribbling on your body? Why is there a cattle ring in your nose?

    I don't get it.

  12. It's 1:26am in my section of the world… there's lightning and thunder out there…and I'm here… tears.

  13. How can I be featured at your show? I'm a poet, and have been published for quite some time..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *