June 2012


  • Artwork by Scott Albrecht
  • Editors:
    Tishon Woolcock
    Caits Meissner
    Nora Salem
  • Editor's Note:
    How To Read The Reader

June 2012

Brother Grace

by Elvis Alves

His name was Brother Graves
from Barbados
We kids called him Brother Grace
unaware of the theological meaning
of our mistake

We liked Grace instead of
Graves because we heard the
former said quite often in

Plus Graves and Grace sounded
so similar, especially when
spoken fast by kids our age

Truth be told, we associated Graves with
death and therefore were scared to say it

Brother Graves stood at
the door of the church every
Sunday morning
He was the usher and would
greet us with a smile or high five
as we arrive to service with
our parents

Brother Graves was not short
or tall
Not skinny or fat
And he was the only man in the
church whose hair was styled jerry curls

Brother Graves also bleached his face
so that it was much lighter than his dark
neck and other dark parts of his body

We boys admired Brother Graves
because he was a ladies’ man

We caught him with Sister Jones
one Sunday in the basement of the
They were doing more than passing
the peace with a kiss

We suspected that it was a
scorned Sister Jones who
reported to the pastor that Brother
Graves lived at home with a woman who
did not wear his ring

The pastor preached about St. Paul
advising marriage less a man burns
with the passions of the flesh
There was also the admonition against
being unequally yoked

Angry, Brother Graves got up and
walked out the church, taking Grace
with him

The latter must have been the case
because Grace was absent from the sermon
preached by the pastor all because Brother
Graves loved a woman and scorned

About Elvis Alves
Elvis Alves poetry has appeared in Garbanzo Literary Journal, Small Axe Salon, Magazine De La Mancha, Caribbean Writer Journal, and other journals. He lives in New York City and teaches at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.


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