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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 1: January 2020
Poem: 165 words
By Kevin Ridgeway

Old Time Religion

The adults spoke in tongues 
at evening services according to my aunt, 
and they tried to cure my grandfather 
of cancer with faith healing and nonsense. 
He died soon enough, and they continued 
to speak in tongues, freaking out the children 
who bore witness to their mad faith 
in Jesus Christ who died for our sins 
and made us wretched, blind seekers of miracles 
not performed by men in the moth-ball stench 
of leisure suits whose sermons left us 
all fucked up enough to speak 
in atheistic tongues against 
the same preachers who told us 
my grandfather was cured 
on the eve of his premature burial 
inside a hillside overlooking 
Hollywood, where they make 
happy endings come true, 
but not for people who are 
confined to a fool’s eternal paradise. 
I got kicked out of Sunday School 
when I told all the other children 
that Jesus died a long, long time ago 
and, much like my grandfather, 
Jesus was never coming back. 

Kevin Ridgeway
Issue 1, January 2020

is the author of Too Young to Know (Stubborn Mule Press). Recent work has appeared in Chiron Review, Cultural Weekly, Literary Orphans, Main Street Rag, Nerve Cowboy, Plainsongs, San Pedro River Review, Slipstream, Spillway, The American Journal of Poetry, The Cape Rock, and Trailer Park Quarterly, among many others. A nominee for Best of the Net and the Pushcart, he lives and writes in Long Beach, CA.

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