"Father, Forgive Them" - Sabrina Ross


We ran. We ran from them. We ran with the smiles beaming from our faces, bodies boisterous and proud, strong arms propelling our fabric skeletons down the rainy street. Each slip on the sidewalk only projected us farther. Oh, we ran. We ran from them, for us, for them. They could watch from the windows. They could look down from the tops of their tenement buildings. They could retract swiftly from our regime in astonishment as we nearly knocked them down. There were those who cheered. Those who laughed. Those who screamed and tried to stop us. But who could? We would not stop just because we were told to. And even when they tried to use force, tried to catch one of us and hold us back from this race, they could not. We were too strong for even the burliest of them. I know, because they caught me. They caught all 5 feet of me and I squirmed out of their arms without much effort at all. Their muscles were no matter. The heart is a muscle. Our hearts had daily exercise from our births. We were the prophets.

Father forgive them, for they do not know what they do! Father forgive them, for they do not know what they do! Father forgive them, for they do not know what they do! We shouted, we chanted, we sang the words. Banging against my chest as I charged was the stolen heavy pewter cross, strung through hemp twine. Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise! I ripped the cord off my throat and threw it into the bustling street as we ran. It broke through a car’s front window. I turned to watch as the car stopped short, and as the woman driving called out through the broken glass- the lord has come! The lord has come! Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.

Woman, behold your son! Behold your mother! She thrust open the car door and caught up with us quickly. She ran. She ran with us. She ran from them, for us, for them, a smile beaming from her face, a body boisterous and loud, strong arms propelling her fabric skeleton down the rainy street. A shot fired. She fell to the wet ground. We stopped.

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? My God, my god, why have you forsaken me? She held the stolen heavy pewter cross to her heart. The policemen came to seize us as we surrounded her shriveling body. They took us by the wrists. We let them. They handcuffed us. We let them. She laid there, eyes bulging, legs quaking, fingers tightening around the cross- I thirst. I thirst. I thirst.

We did not struggle as they pulled us back. We remained silent, watchful on the woman. Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do. She opened her lips and let the rain fill up her mouth, spilling over like a clogged sink. A crowd began to surround, gasping and shouting, pointing at us, at them, at her. She let the rainwater spill from her lips. She released her grip on the relic. She raised her strong arms to the sky. Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.

It is finished. She died wide-eyed and grinning, doused in the natural garlands of the heavens. The crowd cheered and cried, yelled and sighed. The lord has come! The lord has gone! But the lord is still among us!

The policeman pulled us away and into their dark cars. We yielded to their force. Our hearts had daily exercise from our births. Our smiles beamed in the press photos. The cold chains around our wrists felt refreshing. As we rode to the prison, drops of rain pounded against our windows like thick tears. As they threw us into the cell, tears surged from our eyes like busted faucets. As the bars were pulled before us and locked, we opened our lips and we shouted, we chanted, we sang. Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do. It is finished.