And it occurred to her

Sin, the church, and a surprise spiritual awakening.

And it occurred to her
Church Girl, made using Midjourney, by Reivin Alexandria

And it occurred to her as the cold, hard wood of the pew dug into her shoulder blades and pinched off circulation at the backs of her thighs that the Church was not unlike a zombie: all of its parts moving more or less as they should

except for the breath

which didn’t move at all, and the eyes, senseless and stagnant in their sockets. And as the ruddy priest expostulated on about sin and grace—but more about sin—she thought: There must be a way of extracting the necessary meaning for my life that’s more attuned, more innate, more efficacious than fracking through this wasteland.

And her thighs unstuck and rose off the bench, and her feet pivoted toward the aisle, and her legs and torso followed her feet over the stone floor toward the dusty beams of sunlight at the back door. And she pried the door open onto a world of blue skies and gnats and passing traffic and green grass littered with pale pink blossoms. And the breath of the Earth lifted and swayed through her and filled her lungs and veins from her throat to her toes.

And she swayed with the Breath, and began to dance...


Leah Elliott Hamilton is a teacher and a writer living in southwest Virginia. You can check out more of her work at