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Between Soil and Sky

Cassie Montgomery

Giving Back | Taylor Lech | Illustration

My father died with his fingers
curled around his Bible,
like he didn’t expect God
to take him back with his hands
clasped in desperate prayer. 
His favorite story, Earth’s creation,  
Genesis in his King James
warped with oils from his hands,
the leather cover rubbed smooth
after years of nightly begging
forgiveness for old liquor bottles
in a hollow bedroom. 
He read verses to us twice a week 
after dinner, when we were too tired 
to ignore his booming voice starting, 
In the beginning…
He read the way his father did,
loud but not angry, breaking
every few moments to murmur
almost to himself in reverence,
We are all made from the same soil.
Had I followed him on God’s path,
would I read verses with his same cadence?
Part of being everything is mud.
My Father, who art in Heaven,
lays with his Bible on his chest 
under six feet of dirt,
where he might feel closest to Earth
before God reached down to create–
when there was only soil and sky.