In This Place

God was in this place and I did not know it.

What I felt did not matter

what I said, I said to no one

and anyway, it was nonsense

and anyway, it was a whisper

and anyway, I did not mean it.

 

God was in a place that I could not remember,

I thought I had seen it once before.

A place that was young, old, green, gray,

tall and taller

cold and colder

beautiful, ugly,

not for me.

 

God was a name I heard once

in a story someone told me.

A story when I was so young that 

everything around me was huge,

and I was small.

Was God small like me? Or big like them?

I did not know.

I wasn’t sure.

I asked some questions:

Is God beautiful?

Does God sleep?

Where does God go when I sleep? 

And what about food?

And does God wear clothes?

And what about tooth brushing – does God have to do that?  

 

Now I am older,

Now I am old. My knees make 

cracking noises and sound

like they will break apart

but it’s just me, walking around.

 

Is God hearing this?

 

Who said this was okay?
 

I looked for you.

I thought you would know, if God was still around,

how to see  

him? it? her?

What to call, how to name.

I thought you had wisdom.

I thought you were smart.

 

When we were young you loved to talk.

We loved to talk about whatever our brains landed on,

one stone to the next,

light-footed, sure,

easy.

You never tired.

We were twenty-two

nothing seemed true

until we could discuss it together.

 

Did we talk about God?

Can I feel God now?  

What is it, when a life ends so much sooner than it should?

When I looked, 

your blue eyes made sparks – 

was that it?

Or did your eyes open wider than anyone else’s?

Or did your eyes warm the room?

Or did I fall into them?

 

Your eyes are beautiful.

Your eyes were beautiful.

God is supposed to be beautiful.

When I pray now, I struggle to name God –

Beautiful one, divine one, 

One-ness, wholeness,

Hey you out there.  

Is God in this place?

Is God in me, my home, my mezuzah on the doorframe?

If I kiss the mezuzah before I walk inside, will God see me?

If I pray, if I say the words

is God in my mouth? In my breath when I exhale?

I wonder if God saw you.

 

I want to know this: did God see you 

trying as hard as you could 

to live?

As chemicals were pumped into your body

As your hair fell out

As you were held

As you breathed

as you moved from one place to the next.

 

I can see you in my brain,

on the inside of my eyelids,

in my dreams.

See you in old, curling photographs,

in the red notebook I always carried with me

in faded ink on paper.

 

I guess God is here now.

I guess I want that.

Knowledge, faith,

Beauty, reality,

Truth, untruth.

The way your eyes held 

the whole world, and its promises