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Christian Radio

by Elizabeth Oxley

The kids in the house down the block

were allowed to play only religious music,

which meant that whenever their parents left,

they switched the radio to classic rock.

I was there when they sifted through static

for a guiding voice. Three blocks away,

the creek unwound its brown ribbon. Buggies

and cars parked at the general store,

drivers hungry for ham and Velvet cheese.

Back then, our hair was frosted with Aqua Net.

We knew the little ditty about Jack and Diane

and ate ice cream at the Tastee-Freez.

Boys wore bandanas, girls rolled their pants.

Over the radio, Michael Jackson swore

the kid wasn't his son, while every Sunday

the preacher tried to sell us someone else's. 

When parents returned, the kids switched off

the radio and asked me to stay for supper.

That was the way of things—neighbors

calling each other, offering what was needed.

Spats and squabbles never stopped us

from rising up to swing the screen door

open— open— open. We heard cricket song.

Back then, we heard the call to alms.

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