Church Crossing
by Julie Babcock

Moments before the Processional bells chime, a woman walks out of the
Church doors and crosses the street.  She is carrying what appears to be a
young child against her chest.  But all I can see is the child’s red coat.  
A hood and its white, fluffy fringe.  Two marshmallow puffy red sleeves.

How does she know the child is still there?  She holds the coat firmly
with both hands, but she never looks for confirmation.  What if the
child has slipped out?  The tiny, coatless body entirely exposed?

The altar boys are opening the doors, but she isn’t looking back.  She
has crossed the parking lot and is now cutting through a snow-covered
lawn.  Her steps barely make a print.  Soon there will be no evidence of
either of them.  


“Church Crossing” is from
Julie Babcock’s prose poetry
Character, which was a finalist for this year’s Gerald
Cable Book Award.  Other poems from her manuscript have
been published in
The Iowa Review, Spoon River Poetry,
Hayden’s Ferry Review, and elsewhere.  Babcock is currently
a lecturer at the University of Michigan.

On “Church Crossing”:
“Church Crossing” evokes a time when I was living in downtown
Lafayette, Indiana, across from a large Catholic church.  There
were many different masses and for each one, the church bells
would ring.  The bells were impossible to ignore.  I found myself
sitting on my front porch in all kinds of weather watching people
come and go and thinking about why, even though I was raised
Catholic, I was never among them.

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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary

ISSN 1931-3888

Volume 3, Number 2
(Fall 2008)

Copyright © 2008
by Leah Browning, Editor.  

All future rights to material
published in the
Valley Review
are retained
by the individual authors
and artists.