God spoke to me once
in my bedroom on Klein Avenue,
Seaver poster on the wall
homemade drumkit beside
twin bed, the one I beat
with a tennis racket
until it broke, taking out anger
no one let me spend elsewhere,
the one I beat
with my clarinet
squawking horn I hated
requested instead
coronet thinking
eventually trumpet
but my band teacher, Cindy,
Miss Leonard to her students,
denied in deference to my
small hands, damning me
to a horn with smelly reeds
in the back of the band
among the wallflowers. Yeah,
that bedroom, where God spoke
to me once in my closet
hideout, where I hid each day in wait
listening for dad’s mood
when he walked in the door,
whether or not it was safe
& when it was not
where I fell asleep
tucked from the fray.
where God spoke to me
once, told me things
I would need to know when I got
here, far away from Klein Avenue
but that isn’t so far
I forget where I once was.


Cyn Kitchen teaches creative writing at Knox College. Her book, Ten Tongues, was published in 2010. More of her work appears or is forthcoming in Still, Midwestern Gothic, and Spry. She lives in Forgottonia, a downstate region on the Illinois prairie.