God’s Children

I used to cry to God
Begging him to protect me

“I’ll do anything, God, please…just don’t let me get hit. Just this once. I swear I’ll be good.”

That lie to God…
Repeated lies to my parents.
Every date on the pine paddle
Marked an unrequited cry to God.
(Belts, spoons, and switches left marks on me instead)

I used to cry to God to stop my dogs from dying.
Curled up in their wiry fur as they took their last breath;
Life on a farm is full of death.

“God, please let this be a better year, I’ll do anything.”

That first week of January we shoveled Bear off of the road.
Golden fur in a wheelbarrow,
Bloody and mangled.
Logging trucks don’t stop.

I used to beg God for my dad to not hurt my mom
For my parents to stop drinking…
To stop screaming.

“Please, God, I’ll be quiet, no trouble, I won’t talk back, no reason to fight.”

But it would be my insistence
“The pan bottom is still dirty!”
What a weak catalyst to a bullet…
That TV didn’t stand a chance.

I cried to God to not let me die.
Choking out white dust,
Dribbling a stain on the blue headrest that stayed for years.

“Please, God, I just want to live.”

Activated charcoal must have been God’s response.

I begged God for Cory to call me back
“It was a joke; Michael is right here, see? He forgives you.”
The cross on the side of the road
said more than God ever did.

On my hands and knees
A child begging for the pain to stop
Some prayers were answered.
Most were not.

Was I praying to the wrong God?
Would Allah have listened?
Buddha? Gaia? The bullshit Priestess of Mother Earth?

Or did I deserve it?

Good and evil is not split between heaven and hell.
It’s held in the souls of children
Begging a “god” to protect them.

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