The holy roller girl who writhed with the fever of Jesus on Sunday while her pastor daddy twirled snakes like lariats over the heads of sinners crying to be cleansed. Who bused in from out-county on Monday, undressed for gym in a mop closet. Who stuffed a transistor radio down her pants while her pastor daddy handed out salvation in front of Sears. Who believed she’d ascended to heaven whenever Diana Ross sang in her ears, all gauze and sequins, whenever Smoky baby baby-ed her down rows of corn where she danced with her tall green partners. The nights her father came to sanctify her. The day she collapsed in gym class and sang to Jesus in her gospel tongue, an arpeggio of gibberish, all amen and hell yes. How she came back to us a ghost girl, rinsed of all but the hard, high notes.
Sarah Freligh is the author of Sad Math, winner of the 2014 Moon City Press Poetry Prize and the 2015 Whirling Prize from the University of Indianapolis; A Brief Natural History of an American Girl (Accents Publishing, 2012), and Sort of Gone (Turning Point Books, 2008). Recent work has appeared in the Cincinnati Review, SmokeLong Quarterly, diode, and in the anthologies New Microfiction and Best Microfiction 2019. Among her awards are a 2009 poetry fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and a grant from the Constance Saltonstall Foundation in 2006.