Re-wind to days in which the music blared “Cotton candy, sweetie, go Let me see the Tootsee Roll” in between half-assed affirmations of “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Our hips swaying to new hymns, “To the left! To the left! To the right! To the right! To the front! To the front! To the back! To the back!” convicted by giggles and gyrations. Did Matthew, Luke, or Paul ever dance the way we did, ever cheer the other on until sweat flung this way and that ever squeal “ew, you’re gettin’ sweat all over me wait—hush, shh shh, they’re back!” then begrudgingly lower the music “I feel a whoop comin’ on” softly crooning in the background somewhere in the South where saints understood.
An emerging Black poet, NaBeela Washington works towards her Masters in Creative Writing and English at Southern New Hampshire University. She was invited to read her poetry by the Takoma Park Poetry Reading Series, has been published in Juke Joint Magazine, and is forthcoming in The Washington Writers’ Publishing House.