A Sunday Afternoon of Listening to Lionel Richie Sing

This music, and the pungent sweet of honeysuckle
overrun in my love’s backyard takes me back to
Sunday afternoons with my grandma; back to Holiness
Tabernacle Church of God in Christ; back to the
porch on Moorman Rd; back to my sisters
and my Grandma Vivian’s hums—back
to that long-ago childhood in Virginia.

At 37 I returned on a Sunday in October
to bid farewell to the woman who introduced me
to God, and the same preacher of my youth studied
my black slacks and frowned.
Sundays during my childhood were never easy,
those hours of being held captive by Reverend’s repeat commandment to
give until it hurts;
the constant question of grown folks–“Have you seen
your father?” asked with a perceivable glee.

I like the Sundays of my adult-life better—Lionel singing about
A need to be free.
No sermons of me perishing in flames for being me
no grandma willing her mind shut to empty already
Shallow pockets.

Cheryl R. Hopson received her PhD in English from the University of Kentucky in 2008. She is an assistant professor of English at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green. Cheryl is a poet and an essayist. Finishing Line Press published her chapbooks FRAGILE (2017) and BLACK NOTES (2013).

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