A reading from our Bridging service last Sunday that was offered by high school youth Alex Staresinic

by Andrea Gibson
I wasn’t, by any means, a natural.
Was not one of those wow-hounds
born jaw-dropped. I was tough in the husk.
Went years untouched by rain. Took shelter
seriously, even and often especially
in good weather, my tears like teenagers
hiding under the hoods of my eyes,
so committed they were to never falling
for the joke of astonishment.
When I was told there were seven
wonders of the world, I trusted the math,
believed I had seen none of them.
Of course beauty hunted me.
It hunts everyone. But I outran it, hid
in worry, regret, the promise of an afterlife
or a week’s end.
Then one day, in a red velvet theater
in New Orleans, I watched Maya Angelou
walk on stage. Seventeen slow steps to the mic.
She took a breath before speaking,
and I could hear god being born in that breath.
My every pore reached out like a hand
pointing to the first unsinkable lotus in the bayou of the universe. I’d never felt
anything like it.