Indictment of the Parents Who Didn’t Take Me to Church

For not giving my week a structure besides school

and its poorly hidden rehearsal for work.


For letting me learn to fidget in an audience

and walk out on hearing nothing of use;


For teaching me to judge singers by their notes and not their thoughts,

for seeing next to nothing in stained glass.


For not showing me how to navigate a congregation of handshakes

without sweating and breathing fast.


For failing to bestow on me my birthright,

a tradition to reject.

J.D. Smith's third collection, Labor Day at Venice Beach, was published in 2012, and his humor collection, Notes of a Tourist on Planet Earth was published in 2013. His other books include the essay collection Dowsing and Science and the children's picture book The Best Mariachi in the World. He lives in Washington, DC, with his wife, Paula Van Lare, and their rescue dog, Roo.