178: God

178: God

by Marsha de la O

In the canyon I suddenly know
that God is here, so I pull off
onto the turnout fumbling
at the knobs of the radio.
It’s getting dark.
In a tenor’s voice God sings to me
a passage from La Boheme
over the vast plain, the twisted arms
of the Joshua trees stretched wide,
the red rock holding the last light

beyond the rim. I feel God
inside my body, shuddering
with sorrow, with the dusk
and glisten of salt pan, with the
heart thump in the high place
on the rock chute where the whole
torso presses in the cleft. Cliffs
are the temptation to go on
living. God sings in a tremulous
voice, sobbing into the music,

filling the night sky with dark
water and I do go on
because of the gray-blue berries
of the juniper stirring
in the wind, because God sings
in the cross hatch of crows’ wings
with his tincture of death in blue lass,
weeping the tears in everything
while I keep blinking and stars
breathe on, making that mewing
sound, that flutter near
the edge of our eyes.

“God" by Marsha de la O. Copyright © 1997 from BLACK HOPE by Marsha de la O. Used by permission of New Issues Press.