If the body is a temple,
then mine is the house
of a fractured god,
god of peeled cherries
and pith. God of the crooked tooth,
lost enamel, bruxism;
god of the fumbled ultrasound,
god who sends doubting doctors
so to better teach you not to trust.
Mine is the god who refuses audience
until you’re two weeks deep
into the uncharted headache,
who listens best when you beg
for mercy from the toilet at 4 AM.
Mine is the god of the blistered bladder,
pelvic kidney, withered lung,
cystic ovary. Mine is the god
of unanswerable questions, a sphinx
speaking nonsense into flesh.
Mine is the god who takes no homage:
you sacrifice merely to learn how to lose.
Lose three years, forty pounds, senior prom,
painless sex, the blessed orange.
Lose walking. Lose fearless eating:
know the torture of the tomato,
the raspberry, the morning coffee,
know the futility of every choice
being the wrong one.
My god might be the god of Job,
my life ruined just as suddenly
and without notice.
I could say that pain has made me pious
but that’s only a half-truth.
My god makes you prove how badly
you want this life. You can have
anything you want if you’re willing
to walk over splintered seashells to have it.
Is one more livid sunset worth the bruise
you carry inside you? If the medication
that heals your bladder rots your liver,
which organ do you choose to save?
At the end of the test, the god of Job
gave him a new wife, new children,
soothed the festering boils inflicted on his skin.
If this is a challenge, I want no reward.
I choose this body made of sand and fire,
this body filled with stones and glass.
If everything must happen for a reason,
let the reason be this:
Sometimes there is no lesson to be learned.