Sis’ Emma

"Blue Dance" by Chidi Okoye
“Blue Dance” by Chidi Okoye

Emma passed her life in darkened prayer.
Hands of mud-toned leather,
coiled in arthritic knots,
thrust heavenward at the Spirit’s Touch.
“Yes, Lord,” soared over choired song,
she scowls disapproval others’ silence,
judging them indifferent to God’s Promise.

Saturdays were spent cleaning
the Deacons’ quarters
and fussing about tobacco
in the house of the Lord.
Sis’ Emma never married.
No time for corporal pleasures
her Lord needed her work.

Emma was a Baptist nun
in holy blue.

Deacon Samuels fretted about
“poor Sister Davis.”
Too much of her life was gone, with
nothing to show save tattered scriptures
and her Promise.

She never knew joy outside the church
and so, did not miss it.

Wrapped herself in the divine, sweet cloth
of Reverend Douglas’ sermons
and breathed her last in the womb
of her beloved church.