the back pew

“The Back Pew”, “Spooked” and “Bella”

In Poetry Issue Two by L.A. Felleman

“The Back Pew”, “Spooked” and “Bella”

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


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.

Read more work by L.A. Felleman .

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