Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal

A Circus Elephant in Purple Pumps
Sets Out to Meet the New Preacher

Denise Purcell

What with the pastor running off
with another woman
two weeks before the election
and summer seeming to want to last up
until the days started getting longer,
I didn't quite know how to act.

I felt overshadowed.

As I walked from the parking lot
and down the aisle
to the pew I had sat in for years,
my purple pump pinched the toes on my right foot
until it cramped.

They weren't new shoes.

Suddenly, during the Sunday singing, I felt like a circus elephant.

I sat quiet and waited for the new pastor, a voice I had never heard.

From the silence a soft voice spoke and said that I should stop worrying
about whose shoulders I would stand upon
to help me find my way in the world.

My slow, sore feet would be all that I need.

Then I recognized this unfamiliar voice as my own, and I left the circus.


Denise Purcell grew up in Indiana, but her family's roots are in Eastern Kentucky. After college, she and her husband lived in Kentucky for six years. She has been published in Literally and Hoosier Tales.

© Denise Purcell

Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal ISSN 1554-8449, Copyright © 2004-2012