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
Danielle Beazer Dubrasky
Craig Santos Perez