Dear God, if you don’t exist, please listen anyway.
Nothing Vesuvian tonight, just another day, you know,
inanimate objects rebelling simultaneously or
in tandem . . . when I tried to yank open a closet door
the knob fell off onto my bad toe; every Pilot pen I own
ran out of ink, so I had to slit my wrist, pluck a feather
from the dove outside and write my to-do list for tomorrow
in blood, tomorrow, which, given your gracious mercy,
you will allow to unfold, although I would understand
if you changed your mind about tomorrow, for surely
tomorrows are finite and must end at some point,
But why did fifteen light bulbs burn out at once?
Why did the hive on my shoulder expand to take
the shape of Louisiana? And so much more, in tandem
as I said, forgive my repetitions . . . silverfish
devoured a crucial page in my first edition
of Wallace’s Infinite Jest (which, forgive me, I shall
never read), but still . . . why has winter persisted
for so long? why did I lose a crisp new Ben Franklin
in the Walmart parking lot? why did the main sewer line
erupt? why has the full moon disappeared right when
I made time to observe it? why are we contaminating
the planet with plastics and insecticides and plutonium
and why is the Ukraine exploding and why so much slaughter
in Syria and why is the Milky Way expanding and why
will the universe, in a greater tomorrow, God willing,
why is the universe doomed to a “heat death”
which will stifle all atomic motion, like a battery
drained of juice (and, Sir or Madame, regard the implications
of that scenario)
. . . what was the purpose of Homer
and Dante and Shakespeare and Mozart and Bach
if they too, with the universe, cease to exist along with it?
why did my grandfather go senile and my father
burst a vein in his brain? why did that kid on my block
so long ago contract polio and wind up in a wheelchair?
But, I promised, nothing major here, mere tidbits,
mere weariness and ennui, nothing seismic, no, I promised . . .
so why can I never make the full leap into your largesse
and why must you be so outrageous and aloof?
Why have you not answered my emails? And yet,
and yet, here I am again, panting perhaps, desperate
for Thy “like” on Facebook, terrified that You do not
exist and have never existed even as I sincerely trust
in You and believe You must exist, whether You do
or not, for either is equally preposterous. Amen.
Four volumes of Louis Gallo’s poetry, Archaeology, Scherzo Furiant, Crash and Clearing the Attic, are now available. Why is there Something Rather than Nothing? and Leeway & Advent will be published soon.He was invited for and interview and reading of his work by National Public Radio’s program “With Good Reason,” broadcast across the country, 2021. His work appears in Best Short Fiction 2020. A novella, “The Art Deco Lung,” will soon be published in Storylandia.National Public Radio aired a reading and discussion of his poetry on its “With Good Reason” series (December 2020). Chapbooks include The Truth Change, The Abomination of Fascination, Status Updates and The Ten Most Important Questions. He is the founding editor of the now defunct journals, The Barataria Review and Books: A New Orleans Review. His work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize several times. He is the recipient of an NEA grant for fiction. He teaches at Radford University in Radford, Virginia.