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2 Poems About Internal and External Truth


All the Places I Haven’t Found God

A lady at AA says she found God under a bridge
Just below the freeway.
I wait for hours, but He never comes.
I met a couple who live under the bridge
They swear to me that God sleeps next to them every night.
I stay until sunrise inside their tent, but God never shows up.
When I leave, they each kiss me on the cheek.

I find a stray dog next to my old church.
I follow it all around the city.
I hitchhike halfway across the state
I ask the first person with a rosary
Hanging from their rearview mirror to take me to where they found God.
An older woman
Eyes so trusting, I want to tell her not to pick up hitchhikers like me,
Says she found God in a basilica in Rome.
She drops me off at the airport.
As I get out of the car, she kisses me on the cheek.

The lady next to me on the plane says a prayer as we take off.
I don’t even have to ask
She tells me she found God when she had her son at sixteen.
She pulls out a picture from her wallet.
But I don’t see God,
I just see a boy with his mother’s eyes.
She says another prayer as we land,
Wishes me luck as she kisses me on the cheek.

I arrive at the basilica and wait to speak to the priest.
In a confession room, I ask where I can find God.
I explain how I lost Him.
The priest looks into my eyes and says,
“You didn’t lose Him, you gave Him away.”
Before I leave, he cleanses me of my sins,
And kisses me on my cheek.

I spend the night in a motel next to the airport.
I search the entire room
I find nothing except for a Bible and a phone book.
I read both, front to back.
As I sleep, three men stand over me.
A woman comes in to wash my feet.
From behind her hair, she looks at me.
She says she can’t tell if I am Judas
Or the tree that he hung from.
Aren’t we all at least a part of what kills us?
As she leaves, she kisses my cheek.

I fly back home.
I return to work.
A lady from HR says that she heard about my search.
She tells me that every single time she makes toast
The face of God appears on it.
She invites me over to her house to show me.
The next morning, she pulls the toast from the toaster,
Hands it to me while saying, “See?”
I do not see.
I guess part of the problem is
I don’t know what God looks like.
As a child, I would draw God as two dark clouds
Stacked on top of one another.
Now I have even less of an idea what He looks like.

The whole situation seems unfair.
I travel halfway across the world
Only to find out
God appears on Cindy from HR’s toast every day.
Her husband pulls me aside when I go to leave.
He looks at me knowingly
He points to a crucifix hanging low on his chest
Right on top of his heart
He says this is where God is.
I don’t know for sure
But I think God would be considerate enough to let me know
If he was inside my heart the entire time.
As I leave, they both kiss me on the cheek.

While driving home, I pass a withering fig tree.
I slow down, and I swear it starts laughing at me.
I turn on the radio.
The news station is reporting a forest fire.
Started with a single burning bush.
I pull into a gas station just outside of Utah.
There is a Bible verse written on a bathroom stall.
I go up to the counter to buy a magazine.
I open my wallet and the only thing inside are gold coins.
I guess it really was me.

But My Flowers Did Not Grow

I bought eight plants from a garden show
But my flowers did not grow
I placed them on a shelf
I gave them water
I gave them sun
I painted a mural for each one
But my flowers still did not grow
I wrote down a pitch
And explained to them why they should grow
Why they needed to grow
I drew a diagram explaining which way to go
So they wouldn’t be eight examples
Of how un-nurturing I am
How much of a failure I am
Are things really so bad here
That they won’t even look up past the dirt
To check things out?
I begged and pleaded with them
I drew a picture of the sun
And hung it above them
But my flowers would not grow
I read to them
The full poetry book of Sylvia Plath
I told them how good the world was
I told them how pretty it can be
I wanted them to see
They didn’t believe me
Never had I been so jealous of Jack
He didn’t even have to try
And his seeds grew so tall they saw the world
And later the sky
I was asking so much less
Plus there wouldn’t be giants waiting to climb down
I told the plants how nice growing can be
How much I had grown
In the past year I celebrated four birthdays
I was born again and again and again
But my flowers did not listen
I began to wonder what was under the dirt
I imagined it was beautiful
Another world that was far better than the one I had created
I crawled into a flower pot
Swam through the dirt to the very bottom
A marigold seed was waiting for me
I asked if it had been listening to me
The seed said it was where it needed to be
I guess
There are worlds that don’t revolve around me

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