Sunday Worship

Shaindel Beers


They used to chuckle at him softly

the way the small-minded do at the simpleminded

when he would snore or fart in church—

And sometimes let him carry the collection plate

while they dropped in a sweat-earned buck or two

from callused, earth-caked hands.  But it was her I watched—

Imagining how hard it must have been to have

a Mongoloid son and a husband so cruel he called

the boy “It” and left her out of shame.  And yet—

she sat there every Sunday of my childhood

beside a forty-something son she still dressed every day

and felt blessed enough with her life

to make me ashamed to pray for more.


Shaindel Beers is currently a professor of English at Blue Mountain Community College in Pendleton, Oregon, in eastern Oregon's rural high desert.  Her poetry, fiction, and social commentary have appeared in Willow Review, Poetry Miscellany, Hunger Mountain, and numerous other journals and anthologies.  She serves as Poetry Editor of Contrary Magazine and is a poetry book reviewer for  She is surprised on a daily basis by how much Eastern Oregon feels like Indiana, except for the mountains.