by Susan Miley 

A little girl in a Baptist Church

might’ve fallen from Heaven.

Her fluffy eyelashes

and paired wings flutter,

as she beams under the glances

of the other church-goers.

In her white tights,

she giggles quietly.

Her golden curls

bounce and bounce

as her black Mary Janes

click and click

She says please and thank you;

she smiles bashfully behind

her mother. She’s like a lamb,

but instead of green meadows,

she lies still in the

orange velvet pew.

The ladies with pearls and powdered faces

leave red kisses on her cheeks.

The deacons invite her curiosity

at meetings, sneaking her candy

under the conference table.

Adored. Praised.

She is cast in every Christmas play.

She earns a 4.0 in Vacation Bible School.

She never misses a Sunday.

On Easter, wrapped in a

pink dress and topped

with an elegant hat,

her devil tail and

devil horns poke,

hidden from the preacher.

After service, her family

slides into the Cadillac.

Suddenly, her dress is too itchy.

Her baby sister is far too close

and there’s no place to put

her dolly.

She cries, “I’m so cold!”

but soon wails, “I’m too hot!”

She complains that she’s hungry

but not for that restaurant.

“I want what I want!” she thinks,

“Isn’t that what Jesus wants?”

Her mother glares into the

rear-view mirror.

The little girl frowns,

folding her arms across

her chest.

“What?” she asks in surprise

to her mother’s reflection.

“At least I’m not like the

loud kids from the bad neighborhood.

Mommy, they never bring their Bibles

and they don’t know John 3:16!

They wear dirty jeans

and tennis shoes to church, Mommy—

to church!”

She plops her head

in her hand with a pout.

“I’m a good girl,” she remembers.

“Jesus loves me,

this I know!”

Yes, she sings.

Jesus loves the good girl—

the Bible tells her so.

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