Indiana

by Jeff Oaks

If there is something in your face that God

will not countenance, you will be turned away, that God

can have an easier time of it apparently, his mortal

subjects so delicate they cannot bear what God,

it’s claimed anyway, thinks is abominable to serve

pie or flowers or wedding cake to. If you say that God

doesn’t exist, for example, you too could be turned away,

cast like a stone into a pond which burns with what God

might’ve recalled flames when blooming in the desert,

to homeless, nervous sheep-herders, that God 

no one but Moses saw, and that only a little part,

a fire in a weed, since even he was turned away by what God

was, an unbearable thing, a blindness that was too much 

awful force and self promotion. If you address another, that God

with the universe in his throat, or that Goddess among

the roots, or the Stars sailors depend on, no matter what God

it might be other than that nervous lonely Father demanding

no one eats lobsters, no mixing of fabrics, that God 

that also requires newlywed men not go to war, you

will be turned away. Your hands might be too quick; what God

wants limp prayers? Your voice is too high. Go, stranger. 

The inn is full. You’re odd. We can’t bear that, O God. 

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