I called faith a gold-trimmed Gospel,
a half-note suspension resolved in hymnic
harmony, rehearsed prayers punctuated
with perfect gasps and laughter, old tome
imprisoned in an heirloom pulpit and marked
with slight scratches from years’ wear and tear
only visible to guests who squint. But it spills

Communion wine into dresses and stains.
It stings eyes, nostrils, singes an amateur’s
hair. It flies into mouths as you sputter,
sits in the chest till you’re coughing wildly
and everyone in your pew turns to stare.
It ties your legs up and trips you, it swallows
footprints whole. There’s the second

after you stir and realize what
you dreamt. Awake, you grasp
gifts from familiar symbols, inventing
vocabularies for
baptismal vows,
wild stories
It is faith
in everything
you cannot
see &
despite all
you do.

Amy Cerniglia is the director of music and arts at Peace Presbyterian Church in Bradenton, Florida. A finalist for the 2019 Tennessee Williams Poetry Prize, Amy recently published her first hymn text in The Hymn Society’s new collection, “Songs for the Holy Other.”