I can see gods today.
Not in gilded dining rooms
and marble corridors.
But in the parks,
sweat-drenched and open-faced, arguing;
and in the streets,
harrying daughters past the leers;
and in the schools,
tearful, under a teacher’s body,
mouthing, “Let me go.”
I can see the god of hands:
flapping in joy,
dancing full of language,
poring over six-dot cells of knowledge,
easing joysticks across broken sidewalks,
torn between frustrated teeth,
cracked and callused and sore,
dowsing for love on screens,
flipping tables, throwing chairs,
juddering to a rhythm of the nerves,
loose and still,
balled into fists,
wrapped around guns
that turn out to be trinkets,
wet with tears.
I can see holiness
in the rising,
in the sharing,
in the reaching out to one another
in the demand
for freedom, food and futures,
even as your forces array against it.
I can see your god crucified:
barbs cascading over them,
as they stand clutching beltless pants,
vacant eyelets in their shoes,
greasy and swaying;
mascara on her cheeks,
arms held outstretched by leather cuffs,
she labours to breathe,
to stay awake
as the shot closes in on her brain;
scars upon scars,
darkened gauze over his side,
a shackled wrist,
his sulphured clothes in evidence bags,
a guard outside the door.
Can you not see your god?
I can see your god in anguished triumph,
resurrecting from the bed each evening,
tracks and all,
and going out to try one more time
to make a life
But not in gilded dining rooms
or marble corridors;
not in perfumed, manicured bodies
honed in home gyms;
not in silk ties and tailored suits
or moisturized hands
signing away millions’ freedom
with a swathe of ink.
I cannot see your god
in boasts of power and piety.
I see only you.
Give me instead the bodies bouncing off floors,
the half tooth in the quiet room drain,
the wail of a figure holding a limp child
outside the locked emergency room.
I would rather look away.
give me not people trumpeting their godliness,
but give me people inhabited by gods.