Churches, Temples and Holy Sites—Where You Worship, a Prompt Inspired by Aimee Nezhukumatathil

Where do you pray? On what surface (or any) do you bend your knee? When you think of religion, do you picture your church down the street, the temple of your childhood, your prayer mat, or any light shining through stained glass? Or is it a wide blue sky streaked with wings, a stream tricking through a hushed and heavy wooded green, or is it the sea? Somehow when I read Aimee Nezhukumatathil’s “Sea Church,” I think of pillars of salt and a coral arch and a waiting. For more peoms by Aimee Nezhukumatathil, please check out her website.


For this prompt, write a poem about the church of your creation and build it out of what you most want to taste and to touch. Let it be the promise you whispered to yourself deep in a night when you didn’t want to see dawn. What would come to answer your prayer in this church? And what would you pray for first—mercy, forgiveness, peace, justice, or just a slower shattering of light?