This poem was originally published in the Food & Drink issue of The Mockingbird.

In the Year of our Lord of the Church Split
by Joy Roulier Sawyer

In the Year of our Lord of the Church Split,
we stopped phoning Donna
for her recipe for sugared baked beans;
forgot Lorraine crocheted the soft blue blankets
for our newborn sons.

In the Year of our Lord of the Church Split,
we dodged one another in the poultry department,
years of picnics—glazed ham & fried chicken—
packed away carefully on ice.

In the Year of our Lord of the Church Split,
we wept alone over miscarriages, divorce;
our needles moving soundlessly through linen,
cross-stitching unbroken threads.

This was the year our husbands used fists
to hammer out plans for the end times;
used words to sear one another like cows.

Will Christ return? No matter.
He will find us breaking bread
in separate rooms.

In the Year of our Lord of the Church Split,
I dream of women
saving scraps of calico,

folding them into prayers.