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Duck

United States

an automaton put back together wrong

Road Trip (With No GPS and Two Dead Gods)

August 19, 2015

PROMPT: Poetry

6
i.
Neon signs flashing
on the side of the road, they say
we will never know home again;
you are holding your map
upside down.

ii.
I used to work at Whole Foods. One time
someone put their god
on the cash register conveyor belt.
I slipped Him into a paper bag. I didn't
make the customer pay. Not for Him.
He had already expired.

iii.
Open the bag and
laugh.
Open your mouth wide and
swallow your god whole,
absorb it into you
and you still laughing,
choking on all your confessions --
forgive me, Father, for
spitting out your bones;
they would not fit. I'm full.

iv.
The question is not
whether you ate your god.
I can see the crumbs
on your face.
You always ate
like a kid too young,
too excited,
too full of love for the world
to care about napkins.
The quesion is,
did you eat it softly --
did the planets crunch in your teeth,
the people in the theater turning, admonishing,
or did the music of the spheres
decrescendo, slowly spiraling
into your stomach?
Did the angels get caught
in your esophagus?
Did your prayers remain
on the rim of your lips like
margarita salt?
Did you remember your god
in the morning, or did you slouch
on the way to work, lean a little too hard
against the pole on the subway,
the whrrr of the wheels a little too loud --
were you hung over with revelation?
There's the question. That's it. There: when you ate your god --
how did it taste?

v.
Turn the map right side up
again.
You're making me nervous.

vi.
Anyway. They say eating your god is incompatible
with that new paleo diet. Well,
fine by me. I don't
trust those diets anyway, they're all fads. Plus everyone knows
gods are good for you.

vii.
My god
tasted like olive oil and salt.
(Largely because
I put olive oil and salt on Him.)
My dentist couldn't stop swearing,
digging bits of Him out of my teeth.
You have to floss, my dentist said;
plaque in your teeth, plaque on the wall,
planets spinning around the sun -- it's all the same. Things stuck in motion.
Floss, my dentist said, floss.
Are you listening? Are you listening?
(Are you listening? I asked my god, then remembered
I'd eaten Him.
Oh, well. He never listened anyway. All these gods
in people's stomachs, none of them
listening. All expired.)
My dentist sighed. Hopeless, he said,
hopeless.

viii.
One time you tried to teach me
how to play jazz.
Two-five-one, you said,
two-five-one. Are you listening?
Are you listening?
I played a D minor chord. It sounded
holy. Somewhere in my small intestine
a god woke up
and yawned.

ix.
You can't put a tax
on gods. It's not right.
You can't put a tax
on essentials. Least of all
food.
So I didn't,
just let the customer wheel Him away
in her grocery cart.
Have a good day, I said,
although upon reflection I wonder
if I ever said it at all,
if I were even there,
if that were really me
or just a ghost of some prophet
crying baptism tears,
watching their god
as He was wheeled into the parking lot
next to a bag of apples.

x.
Where are we?
My god would know. Too bad
I ate Him.
But seriously,
where are we?
Are we lost?
And why didn't we
stop for directions?

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