Catechism Follows Recess

In the afternoon, rain just beginning to pelt
the windows, we sat at attention, uniformly
rapt while Mother Superior explained it:
how they would march us into the gym,
divide us into two groups,
how the believers would be backed
against the wall, die in a hail of
machine gun fire, how
we would have to decide
once and for all
which side we were on.
That evening, kneeling before
the television set, my head resting
on the paper on my father’s knees, I saw
the girl on fire, trying to outrun
her own back,
and I understood
for the first time,
the body counts.
And I knew then,
with absolute conviction,
I wanted to be among the saved.

Desiree Hellegers affiliated faculty with the Collective for Social and Environmental Justice (CSEJ) at WSU Vancouver; director of The Thin Green Line is People History Project and a member/producer with the Old Mole Variety Hour on Portland’s KBOO Radio. Their serialized solo play “How I Learned to Breathe thru the Apocalypse” is airing on Portland’s Open Signal cable television. Their personal website