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Ol’ Black Church Attire

Matthew Johnson

Deaconesses and Mothers of the Church,
Donning pink passion-punch hats with so many feathers,
You would’ve thought they had plucked
A flamingo’s tail this morning,
Look down upon the offering basket
To contribute their tithes and paycheck portions,
And on the young and adolescent women in attendance at service,
Showing their long black legs in low-hanging dresses and skirts.

Though the sanctuary is without air-conditioning
Here in the farmland, a country-fried Summer is no excuse,
To more conservative members of the flock,
To dress like one of Babylon’s harlots...


         - for Helene Johnson



Matthew is a three-time Best of the Net Nominee who recently released his second poetry collection, "Far from New York State" (NYQ Press), and is the author of, "Shadow Folks and Soul Songs" (Kelsay Books). His poetry has appeared in Roanoke Review, Maryland Literary Review, Northern New England Review, Front Porch Review, and elsewhere. He has received a Residency from Sundress Publications. A former sports journalist who wrote for the USA Today College and the Daily Star (Oneonta, NY), he now lives in Greensboro, NC after earning his M.A. in English from UNC-Greensboro. He’s the managing editor of The Portrait of New England and the poetry editor of The Twin Bill.

Twitter: @Matt_Johnson_D

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