Julian Baptist


After Church, Mom and my little brother,

Gabriel Drove past cow pastures to Grandma's.

Stopping off of Highway 62 we saw a church

Overgrown with thorns and anarchic azaleas,

Taken back by wilderness.

Wondering what happened,

Mom explained how Pastor Korn had caused a split

In this once just erected Baptist facility. Now Lawyers

Owned it. Outside we ventured behind

The brick building, where eerie elms swallowed

The sanctuary, going this way and that

Enormous holly bushes with prickle branches

Tiny red berries, pixels of crimson against

Withering sienna sticker stalks

Of sunflowers bowed their heads while dried blood

Geraniums roamed with wild onion like hyssop.

My little brother called it a jungle.

I was explaining to him primary and secondary

(Growth of fields) when I saw a Black slither-

Ing thing; the ground was alive, crystal spark

Black as mud, as big around as my arm, I

Hauled tail out of there my little brother: What?

Can I see? What was it? It was a rat snake.

 It eats rats. Big hairy rats apparently.

Cool. He said, where? Over there past that coiling vine

Entwined with that twisted tree. That's a wire, stupid

He pointed to an electrical wire, severed,

And dangling from a fallen gutter

Full of rusted leaves. I know, that wasn't

What I saw. Going back for one more look

Briars snagged my khakis, but up steps I held

On black railing to see through the back door

window next to an old Air conditioning

unit, rust urine on pealing white.

What is it? He was caught by oppressive

Cedars. An offering plate and pews

And hymnals, they're all there. The Lord's Supper

Table with the silver offering plate.

There's not even dust-a piano. It's black-

The carpet's clean too. Everything's clean. What

Is this? Let me see. I boosted him up

To the tiny square window with cobwebs.

Lets break in. We can't do that, Gabe, let's go.

I want to see better. We climbed up front,

A cement stairway covered canopy

Of holly tree progeny. Squished the red

Embryos as we stooped. Vines crept up sidewalk

Up the front entrance, the doorknob was a hole

Where we saw brass coat hangers, but no coats.

Door's locked, Let's go. The cedars scratches

Wait I just wanna see what's inside. Leaving,

I could see a myrtle tree sampling

growing in the gutter, pink puffs taken by

The Wind. I wish I could get inside.


Ben Snyder