We meet to consider God, But first,
introductions all around. Adam,
raised Orthodox, confesses
he ate his first bacon at Harvard
and fell away from religion in the arms of a Methodist girl.
A Catholic who married a Jew
says she loves the creative tension
between predestination and free will.
I gave up God at eleven — when Mother
fell ill — and prayed to my Ogd instead.
Would God exist if we didn’t? And if He
(She) (It) didn’t, would we? We are
all scarred by the Holocaust, We doubt
that God spoke to Moses, or cares
what we want, or knows what we haven’t said.
The convert probes Love as Meaning;
the therapist says she’s a Trekkie;
the Bundist son of a Hasid asks what sort
of Force sends refugee Kurds to starve
in Iraqi mountains, or washes up corpses
like driftwood on beaches in Bangladesh.
Leaving, we pledge to cherish each other,
though we’re not very good with names.
Outside, the whole improbable world
smells like wieners on campfires, roasting,
or the chickens my mother charred
when she was too sick to know how to cook,
A warehouse has smoldered all weekend.
Hundreds of tons of burnt butter and rivers
of melted cheese slick Cottage Grove Road
toward Starkweather Creek, I am beyond
disbelief. Ogd hovered over the icebox,
playing chess with our lives and laughing,
in the kitchen where I grew up.