Elder Gideon

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I Professed

As bright as the names branding his clothes
My cheery peer of three classes saw my armor

Even challenged me to friendly debates
That escalated into eschatology

I even after said yes just to argue
With his youth group meeting

Where I sat in a church room armed & folded


The guest speaker seemed not much older
But stoic & only named Mary
Was petite but bad ass as Joan Jet
Black hair spilled to her waist
While she told of her past
The biker life running
Cartels & witchcraft
Then a physical angel

The air around her breathed
My gun wouldn’t load
Her eyes in mine said put it down
I suddenly wanted out of the funeral
What she possessed I professed

All the While Yahweh

Jeanne was a plush crone with a home-cooked soul
Whose matriarchal laughter silenced thunder

Her hellos soon were hugs for which I reached
As a basement plant to a passing slant of light

After service conversations grew longer like my winter
I don’t want to be gay I’d say

She made ancient words new
By grace over greasy lunches
By grace between seat cracks
By grace around her fire opal eyes

By grace you’ve been saved through faith she’d say

Not of yourself
It is a gift of God
That no one may boast

By Grace behind Jeanne’s eyes dawned
Love aligned with mine

I’d someday come to know the house
Upon my basement walls dissolve
I could not tell if it was day or night
Within & all around how gnosis shines
Without source or horizon
Is the mirror judging nothing

Clear before there’s color

As paper bathed in darkroom trays
So worlds emerge
From light behind

All the while Yahweh—
What Was
& Is & Shall Be—frees

Die to Give

Thank you Steve & Jacky
for sanctuary

For letting him your crash your couch
while he wanted least to live

For harrowing his hell
with humor & hermeneutics

For being his family while losing his own
For preparing his heart for death
His mother with himself


Her bed lodged between swollen walls
Her eyes closed her mouth agape
Without a sound as stone
That is the body dead

His sinkhole broke

He fell through electric veils
Unable to wake until
In empathy he saw

Her life through her eyes
Knew her regret as his own


Forgiveness is not a gift we give
Ourselves on earth as it is in heaven
Shine selves that die to give

Elder Gideon is very grateful to write to people of faith. His MFA thesis “Aegis of Waves,” an intertextual weave of science, spirituality, and narratives his high school students live, will be published in 2021 by Wipf & Stock. These three pieces come from his first chapbook “Our Kids Belong to No One,” a personal essay in verse where he explores his own coming to faith and out to himself with God. 

Photo by Abel Tan Jun Yang on Pexels.com

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