the back pew

“The Back Pew”, “Spooked” and “Bella”

Poetry Issue Two by L.A. Felleman

The Back Pew

Two sisters.
All blonde, black velvet and sparkles,
amongst the church poinsettias.

The enchanted mother pulls out a phone
and captures earlier versions of herself.

Should I tattle
when the youngest,
lying on her back
beneath the pew,
begins to draw
on its underside?

I do not,
remembering once
doing the same myself.

Should I tell
on the father,
moving his hand
up and down
over the ruffled skirt
of the eldest,
standing on the pew
beside him?

I do not,
seeing nothing amiss in the gesture
despite my mortified sensibility.

Foreseeing his
inevitable unease
when his little girls
become the lookalikes
of today’s attractive wife.


The theophany occurred in the basement of the home of
William Jennings Bryan,
which by then had been converted
into a daycare center for the children of
the staff of Bryan Memorial Hospital.

I was in the play room by myself,
surveying the toy kitchen appliances,
the plastic food and dinnerware,
content with my aloneness
because I knew I really wasn’t,
God was here and would be my playmate.

As soon as the belief was thought,
I sensed a presence start to move towards me,
from beyond the cinderblock wall to the West.

Suddenly, the room’s atmosphere felt weighty,
as if an intensifying thundercloud was drawing nearer,
the worst storms always came from that direction,
and I knew with awful certainty,
that this room would be too small
for what was heading my way.

The instant I became aware of the limitation
of my current situation,
I fled.


My beautiful puppy,
you’re all grown up now,
in someone else’s home.

My beautiful, pit bull puppy,
so smart,
learning to sit, stay, and come
within an hour of training.

My beautiful, blue, pit bull puppy,
so strong,
shredding the Memphis phonebook
in no time at all.

You went back to the shelter
the very next day,
my Bella, the blue, pit bull puppy.

I’ve heard tell of dogs who follow their masters,
crossing state lines,
distance of no consequence.

I guess you lost my scent.

About the Author

L.A. Felleman

Twitter Website

Currently, LA is an accountant at the University of Iowa. Before that, she was a seminary professor. Prior to that, she was a pastor. She moved to Iowa City with her husband in June 2016 and started writing poetry soon afterwards. In order to learn this new craft, LA attends the Free Generative Writing Workshop and participates in local poetry readings. Her poems have appeared in the Moon Zine, Cedar Valley Divide, and the local 2017 Poetry in Public program.