Chloe Hanson

Concerning my Heavenly Origins
Dear God,
I have often wished that you were real, but kind.
You seemed to me the kind of man who, returning home,
scolds his wife for undusted blinds, ignoring clean carpets,
dishes drip-drying in the rack by the sink. I never needed you
to praise me, somehow, I felt you’d only be complimenting yourself.
God, I am a terrible atheist. At times I might have found divinity
in the sweep of your body pressing air into mine
as you passed me over to answer the prayers of another.
I have imagined the world before I inhabited it, God,
yellow and blue, held aloft by cherubim-breath,
the whole mess buoyed up like a feather kept afloat,
a playing card passed lip-to-lip. Like everyone else, God,
I believe and don’t believe that the world existed before me,
in the way all things undiscovered become myth. Like you,
the rumor of a man who could show me his love
in the delicate way he made me cower, bruise, cry.
If you were real, God, I would take you to court
for the marks you’ve left on my mother. She, who so believing,
aches in your absence and calls it faith. She wishes, even now,
for you to pass through me as a hand from air into still water,
for you to ripple across my surface to my unborn children.
She defends you even as you open our lips and try
to force your tongue inside, as you call it prayer.

Chloe Hanson is a Ph.D. student at the University of Tennessee. Her work has been recently featured in Contemporary Verse 2, Stirring, Pretty Owl, Rag Queen Periodical, and Arsenic Lobster.