A friend told me

by Ron Riekki

that when he was young,
very young,
in church,
they asked for volunteers
of those
who hadn’t been saved
to come down
the aisle
and get saved.
They’d take you to
a door on the side.
Nervous, he felt
it was time
and so
he stood up
and walked down the aisle
and there were hallelujahs
and applause
and quiet
and grace
and then
when they took him to the side door,
he thought
heaven was just on the other side,
that he was going to die,
or at least,
give up this life,
he was so stunned
when he went into the other room
and realized
it wasn’t the end,
but only a very long beginning.

Ron Riekki has published poetry in Rattle, Poetry NorthwestBeloit Poetry Journal, fiction in Threepenny ReviewBellevue Literary ReviewWigleaf, nonfiction in River Teeth, New Orleans Review, and more. Right now, Riekki is listening to Richard Burton read Dylan Thomas’ “Fern Hill.”

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