A Poem about God
                                                                        —Robin Myers

They buried her ashes next to the father who hit her.
Something happened along the length of her forearms

when she played the piano, her body given over to a cipher suddenly decoded.
She and her tendons, they understood each other.

Maybe I shouldn’t be writing this. I don’t pray
and I don’t think she did, either.

I’m reading about smallpox in the seizure of the Americas.
I’m thinking about the generations riddled into the soil of my parents’ front yard.

There’s no hyperbole like history
and no God but God, by which I mean, for example, the aphid,

the kind that ravaged her tomato plants,
inconspicuously inviting itself all over the place,

sowing its honeydew like space debris.
I don’t mean to be glib. All I’m saying

is that I believe in blights like I believe in music,
and that hers flourished both behind her ribs and somewhere farther off.

And that we’re made of the plagues that came before us
and let us, some of us, live. And when haven’t bugs

inherited the earth. If I die, she’d said toward the end.
Before I wake, is how some are taught to complete

that sentence. I don’t believe
she’s anywhere now but the piano bridge,

parts of which she’d gingerly taped together—
whether to quell a sound or fling it loose

and then make it vanish in the way she loved best,
who knows but the air that received it every time.


For a couple of hours, her mind
Went. As people say. As if it knew where to

Go. She remembered who she
Was. And who we were. She registered the damp

Pain. In her left breast. She knew we were
Home. Where she didn’t

Live. She didn’t remember how we’d gotten
There. Or that a hospital had let us

Come. Or how long ago. So she asked us again and
Again. And we told her every

Time. We took turns holding her
Hand. She floundered on the couch, as if trying not to

Drown. But in a
Dream. Who is in charge of all

This? She asked, and glanced around the living
Room. Of course there was no good

Answer. To that question. We said
We. Would take care of her and we

Did. When she came back, she
Didn’t. Remember being

Gone. When I held her
Hand. She was a child, briefly, and I was

Not. It takes, as the saying goes, my
Breath. Away. It makes me shiver to wonder

What. Will someday make me feel such
Trust. Again.

Robin Myers

Robin Myers is a New York-born, Mexico City-based poet and translator. Her poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in PANK Magazine, Poetry Northwest, the Massachusetts Review, the Harvard Review, and 32 Poems, among other publications. She is an alumna of the Banff International Literary Translation Centre, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley.

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