She said I have to believe. She said it was important and why she had called me after a year--not to have sex, though I asked to be sure. From Guadalajara, she came to North Carolina knowing no English but soon was doing poetry readings. Now, she was in a cult.

She pointed to her palms. “See the sparkles of light? That is the holy light. I have been anointed.”

“It’s the recessed halogens reflecting off some oil or sweat.”

“I can talk in tongues.” She talked in tongues.

“I can talk gibberish.” I talked gibberish.

“It’s ancient Aramaic. That hasn’t been heard in thousands of years.”

“Then, how do we know what it sounds like?”

She stood, short but all long black hair and cleavage. She laid one hand, sparkling palm down, on my heart and the other on my back. She prayed over me and fell into the tongues. We were in Starbucks.

“I’ve done what I can,” she said. “You have to save yourself.” She was crying.

“And you have to fuck yourself.”

Much later, when God came, I was sorry about that part.

S. Craig Renfroe, Jr.
William Gay