Dall – E image generated by Jeremy Nathan Marks using Bing Chat Enterprise

The thought that God lives in our hearts
and through our bonds with others
is a much bolder article of faith than
believing God will come down on
a white steed, brandishing a sword of fire

if you’ve ever tried to love
thy neighbor embrace the toe biter
stroke the centipede pluck a beam
when gazing into a lamprey’s mouth
I imagine you’ve found the chasm
love or fervent prayer is supposed
to overcome

(In my dreams, I do not see doves
or coats of many colors just drab olive
green uniforms and a tree standing solo
an oasis of water and fruit.
Drooping from branches whose fronds
scour my skin I find drupes with dried out
hearts that even flies won’t eat.)

I imagine that when you’ve seen how
no amount of prayer just dollars
ends wars and sates the starving
places a green line between a gunship
a fist, falling bombs, clouds of white
phosphorous and some tender skin
and dewy down

you’ve probably thought that money
isn’t mere speech, it’s a force majeure
and asked what kind of God prefers
a fistful of dollars, gold fillings
turned into bullion.

What I do know is that to know
God, I unknow God, and then
know God again in the blue
and red ebb/surge that starves
restores my heart like a sump
pump or a fuel injector

better yet -it has a will like milk

About the Poem

I would say my poem is a response to the ongoing horror in Gaza, but I wouldn’t want to forget Yemen or Ukraine or Burma, or all the other closeted tales of the living hearts I drive past on my way to work. But, if I am going to be precise: Yes, this is a response to Gaza and how I have never had much patience for theodicy, which is the attempt to explain how a perfectly good God tolerates evil. Perhaps there is a convoluted reason for it, but I suspect the only way I am going to attain such knowledge is to transcend reason and logic by faith which, in this world, I am unprepared to do.

About the Author

Jeremy Nathan Marks lives in the Great Lakes Region of Canada, which is warming like the rest of the planet. Recent work appears/will appear in Mobius, Rattle,, Belt, Unlikely Stories, Writers Resist, New Verse News, and 365 Tomorrows. Jeremy’s most recent book is Flint River (Alien Buddha Press, 2023).

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