INDIAN REC CENTER

Matthew Spira
Dec 21, 2020 · 2 min read

By MAGGIE MATHIS

Source: Maggie Mathis

We came from Louisiana
a white youth group
with puppets
to Share the Gospel
I was nine years old.

That’s what they called it
in Oklahoma in 1978. Indian?
The “INDIAN BAPTIST CHURCH.”
What type of Indian, I wonder now.
You can tell in the pictures
we are on a reservation.

The preacher’s sweet, quiet, daughter.
Always wanting to please the Lord.
Be a good Christian.
I have the pictures
but don’t really remember that trip.
Don’t remember much at all
from those years.

My Sunday School teacher, an old man
he’s in those pictures
sharing the Gospel, the fucking Gospel.
My mother whipping me with a belt
when I didn’t want to go to church.
So I went
to Sunday School.

And I was the first
somehow
always the first one there
to hear the lesson of the day.
But first, I had to keep a secret.
I took his dollar
put it in my piggy bank.

His wife had a red beehive
and cat eyeglasses
She was the one who chaperoned us
to the Indian Rec Center.
They had granddaughters about my age
and I’ve always wondered…

In the INDIAN BAPTIST CHURCH
on that trip, we performed our
puppet show
and then sang
I sing because I’m happy,
I sing because I’m free,
for His eye is on the sparrow…”

No, his eye is not on the sparrow.
He watches me. His eyes following me.
Lingering on me.
Nine years old.
God is nowhere in the pictures.
That’s what I learned
on that trip
to the Indian Rec Center
in Oklahoma.
In 1978.

Source: Maggie Mathis

— Maggie Mathis © 2020

Matthew Spira

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Matthew Spira

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Just a middle-aged dude doing middle-aged things. Poetry repository: matthewspira.org. 1st collection, The End of the Rainbow, on sale: http://amzn.to/32Kkt3d

Matthew Spira

Ever-growing collection of poetry. Now with audio (in-progress)!

Matthew Spira

Written by

Just a middle-aged dude doing middle-aged things. Poetry repository: matthewspira.org. 1st collection, The End of the Rainbow, on sale: http://amzn.to/32Kkt3d

Matthew Spira

Ever-growing collection of poetry. Now with audio (in-progress)!

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