Yes, Father


David Brennan



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A Catholic Priest, my father, walks the beach in Tampa, 1968. The sun halfway through setting. Facing the water, hands in the pockets of his plaid shorts, he thinks he hears, impossibly blowing in off the empty rippling expanse, a woman singing:

“A woman’s voice. It is not the voice of God, at least not the voice that I have been taught to listen for. Her song is the very essence of what we have been schooled in defining as temptation: sensual, sugary, mournful. A woman walking the waves of the sea; I wonder where she is—she who believes in me when I have no right to expect devotion of any sort, when she is the very one I abandoned. If it’s what you need to do, she said. Let’s see how it goes. And then I left. Came to this humid hell by choice and demand, headed south by travel and trope, all for an ideal that from this vantage no longer looks idyllic. She is in New York, where it is just beginning to turn hot, and the park trees are thick and full of shade, unlike the scanty palms that line this beach; their shade barely spans the expanse of my soaked brow. It seems, now that I have left, now that I am here alone—a true priest would not say alone. A true priest would say with God, but I don’t feel like I am with God. I feel alone. Lonely.

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prayer narrative


Creative Writing | Religion


"Yes, Father" was originally published at On Earth As It Is.

Image by Matthew Simmons.

Yes, Father