A friend asks me, “Have you told your mother you’re an atheist?” the same day
My lover tells me one of her co-workers informed her she was going to Hell.
A strange too-spiritual coincidence, with me sitting at a desk littered with river-stones,
A Bible (for reference),
A bottle of Merlot (for reference),
The truth of the matter is I want to be an atheist but can’t
Even if my god is no salt pillar God,
No drowned world God.
No sixty-six chapters of wrath God,
Nothing with capitalization
But just god, or goddess,
She-he-they is, some days,
A well-meaning mother
Who stands beside the sink filled with dishes, the phone cradled to her ear,
Listening night after night to her weary daughter whisper about
The days unraveling and the waves come washing.
Some days, a magician with a mean streak
Who presents to me, in the worst moments, with me demanding the end of times,
Friendships and good mornings and, damn him,
The kindness of strangers,
My god is your god in drag,
Laughs loudly, dancing in a dim room with a suit and tie and deep, dark lipstick,
Confuses strangers, stands close, entices,
My god is the god your god drives through to get home in the rain,
Wind-shield wipers broken and lightning under the wheels,
Car filled with muttered cursing
My god is the god who gets drunk with me, slurs after the sixth shot,
“Hell, I think, is a simple answer
To a question you don’t even know the language of,”
The same night they stand over my bent head, carefully watching
As all of the spirits pour out of me.