And can this very you sit across the very aisle so serene? Illumined in the stain of colored light? I could take three steps and sit upon your lap, to the sounds of my mother's swoons and the outrage of congregated eyes and ears, and laps.
Could the hand now clasped upon the oaken beams have once skied from breast-crest to valley, grasped and stolen it, unpaid, as fruitstand oranges by a starving man?
Unpaid--the man would boom from this pulpit--could he know; as it is he moans admonition in the same key that I did with the floor upon my back--does he not look at us?
Can you sit, so serene? We had not been to church! You knelt me upon an alter of down and carpet, instead--too soon, too soon--pried confessions from my mouth with a spirit unholy. Now can you to church again?
Can they not see that the bruise upon thy neck is the liquid sign of sin itself and has a twin beneath my chin? Could they suppose it was a thoughtless child of accident--a wheel-tossed stone, a branch assailing from horseback height--not the son of forceful, laborious deliberation tendered by the verbal-est muscles of another face? Could they be so foolish?
Can you sit so serene, before the Ghost that we could not shut out with mere key and door and whispered 'hush'? And could they be so blind? No; methinks now they are not blind, but hiding--the elder there I now see in a midnight haystack, and this rolling wife here still has her suckling babe, but why does he not possess her husband's washboard forehead? --No; I am blinded by the muddy browns in my own pupil--he is standing and his trousers are pressed; she is wiping her baby's washboard head.
Can you sit so serene? They see us--and your lips move in song--but they see us!--and your brow wrinkles in prayer--but they see us!--and your buttocks are still and submissive upon the pew--but they see us!
Can you sit so serene?