The Problem Is Not That God Does Not Exist so Much as That He Will Not Bargain with You

I have a tree growing entirely

inside me:  roots anchored

in the pelvic basin, and its top sprawls out

green leaves and tender branches from my skull.

It is a Black Maple. In cold and dark

we turn sap into sugar.  Consequently, these days,

I am thinking about death: mine and others.  Death

on the Nile.

Murder on the Orient Express.

Death in the Afternoon.

There were times, years ago,

I was very close

to stepping out in traffic's current

as the great white shark

of a city bus (in size, equivalent,

but you must substitute velocity

for teeth) swam towards me.  Sometimes,

I would lull myself imagining

a pistol in my mouth.  To fall asleep

thinking this was comforting.

Insert whatever image you prefer here: cigarette,

pacifier, bottle, cock.  I was that tired.

I missed Tom that much.  Last night

the bar was brown paper bag full packed

with friends like Concord grapes round ripe rich and succulent and held together

by the supple vine

of Alicia singing about how God turned Miriam white with leprosy.

Because she questioned, her skin peeled off and fell in sheets like loose pages

from a broken-binding book.  I don't know

what's made me so entirely happy these past few years, buoyant

as an empty Pepsi bottle tossed in the Cuyahoga and through the muck

still bobbing unflappably my way along.  World,

I want to ask how did I manage to find you,

and thank you for letting me come back.

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