I grew up in a little church-going southern town and always said prayers with Mother at bedtime. I surprised her one night when I deviated from ‘if I die before I wake’. 

‘God bless mother and daddy and Mama Jackson and Aunt Orpha and everybody I know except Harry next door, God, because he thought he was being funny and grabbed me after kindergarten and he flipped me over and made my pigtail come loose. Alma couldn’t fix it so I had to wait two whole hours with my hair hanging down on one side like a dummy until Mother came home'. 

My ban on God blessing Harry went on for the rest of the week as Mother pleaded with me for my forgiveness. ‘No, Mother. God has to know!’ 

rainfall over
sunlight reaches
the underbrush