Skip to main content
ISSUE:  Autumn 1999

You have begun to wonder, a glass world
rolling in gentle shadows beneath you,
if all your genuflecting did not turn God
into a masochist. At times, that is the only way
the mighty can feel power, whip in hand,
the red back of the world streaked like Santa Monica
freeway in rush hour. Surely even God,
nameless as the bloated dog floating past,
tires of solitaire with horrors and angels.
Leave it to you, your seasick wife says,
to spoil God. Even He needs a cup of mercy
from strangers met in a stalled elevator.

You are high enough now
to get his attention, call his bluff
a pebble, misname the scoured volcano.
Why, the caldera looks like a dish from here,
a rosy plate delicate with caviar. And the city
a bunch of tossed hats, and the caravan a broken necklace.
True, the many paired hoofs below distract
this moment of reflection. Their racket
is out of place, like bongos in those postwar Paris cafes,
the urgent coughing up its case among smoky rebels
who are tired and want the world to end.

Bent over the railing, you feel your next prayer
should address future dreams of flight.
How men are not made for the vertigo
of solemn trajectories.
You search the earth for a joy: the sight
of a snake pit in the desert.
And that hopeless obedience to need
keeps Him happy.
Even the only ship in a drowned world
can feel like a straitjacket.


This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Recommended Reading