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In This Place

woman with blonde hair and eyes closed wrapped in a blanket standing in front of a view of mountains and a river with white sky above
God was in this place and I did not know it.
What I felt did not matter
what I said, I said to no one
and anyway, it was nonsense
and anyway, it was a whisper
and anyway, I did not mean it.
 
God was in a place that I could not remember,
I thought I had seen it once before.
A place that was young, old, green, gray,
tall and taller
cold and colder
beautiful, ugly,
not for me.
 
God was a name I heard once
in a story someone told me.
A story when I was so young that 
everything around me was huge,
and I was small.
Was God small like me? Or big like them?
I did not know.
I wasn’t sure.
 
I asked some questions:
Is God beautiful?
Does God sleep?
Where does God go when I sleep? 
And what about food?
And does God wear clothes?
And what about tooth brushing – does God have to do that?  
 
Now I am older,
Now I am old. My knees make 
cracking noises and sound
like they will break apart,
but it’s just me, walking around.
 
Is God hearing this?
 
Who said this was okay?
 
I looked for you.
I thought you would know, if God was still around,
how to see  
him? it? her?
What to call, how to name.
I thought you had wisdom.
I thought you were smart.
 
When we were young, you loved to talk.
We loved to talk about whatever our brains landed on,
one stone to the next,
light-footed, sure,
easy.
You never tired.
We were twenty-two,
nothing seemed true
until we could discuss it together.
 
Did we talk about God?
Can I feel God now?  
What is it, when a life ends so much sooner than it should?
When I looked, 
your blue eyes made sparks – 
was that it?
Or did your eyes open wider than anyone else’s?
Or did your eyes warm the room?
Or did I fall into them?
 
Your eyes are beautiful.
Your eyes were beautiful.
God is supposed to be beautiful.
When I pray now, I struggle to name God –
Beautiful one, divine one, 
One-ness, wholeness,
Hey, you out there.  
Is God in this place?
Is God in me, my home, my mezuzah on the doorframe?
If I kiss the mezuzah before I walk inside, will God see me?
If I pray, if I say the words
is God in my mouth? In my breath when I exhale?
I wonder if God saw you.
 
I want to know this: did God see you 
trying as hard as you could 
to live?
As chemicals were pumped into your body
As your hair fell out
As you were held
As you breathed
as you moved from one place to the next.
 
I can see you in my brain,
on the inside of my eyelids,
in my dreams.
See you in old, curling photographs,
in the red notebook I always carried with me
in faded ink on paper.
 
I guess God is here now.
I guess I want that.
Knowledge, faith,
Beauty, reality,
Truth, untruth.
The way your eyes held 
the whole world, and its promises.

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