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My Best Friend, the Pastor’s Daughter, Tells Me She’s Concerned

Alice White | Poetry

I’ll go to hell if I die right now, and she won’t have saved me.

We’re hanging off a lone blue raft in an oval swimming pool.

It’s true I’m found
at church on Sundays only after sleepovers at her house.

But I’m such a good churchgoer when I go—such a rapt listener the whole sermon, such a good complimenter of her dad

at lunch afterward.

I stand and clap along
to all the songs—smile, sing,
raise my arms in a V, close my eyes— What more do they want?

I listen to her whole speech as the raft spins itself
in slow circles,
moving the sun into my eyes and out again.

She finally finishes,
is near tears.
Hard to tell with all the wetness.

I dunk my head into the water and feel the cosmos shudder somewhere deep beneath my feet.