My mother has always used religion to explain our lives,
lists of things we couldn’t do
commandments and punishments
sprinkled here and there with peculiar exaltations.
I’ve never felt like I quite measured up to their expectations--hers or God’s.
I seem to remember sitting
on the tiny wooden chairs
in my Sunday school classroom,
the accordian doors closed
protecting the pulpit from our too-loud voices.
While we made tombstones out of Playdoh
to roll away on Easter morning,
I examined the paintings of Jesus
staring down from the walls around me--
wondering how it was possible
that I could have been made in the image of God.
Feeling not so much like a photocopy
but instead like a fax of a fax,
so that even the outline is an approximation.