her tongue was fire –
a bright wick flickered from
her scalp as the umbilical
sign of the Holy Ghost
glowed in a stalk of orange and red
dancing to cadent sounds,
guttural utterings,
stutterings –
a delirium tremens when she
hit the floor, released from the
pull of earth, buckling
under the push heaven

as it was in the days of St. Peter
when God first blew
Pentecost flames, so it
was in the tabernacle of
faith where i straddled
my mother’s lap, laughing at how
peculiar my pudgy fingers looked when
they clutched the air, as the
Holy Ghost woman spoke with tongues
that licked inside my tiny ears and
left them moist with noise

G. C. Chadwick lives in Virginia with his wife and four kids.