i remember being young and zealous
like a male joan of arc, only
less obviously crazy.
i could always feel Your presence
palpably, like the skin feeling of moving
from shadow into sunshine.
You have a particular heat about You.
even after i was over-educated, i didn't
have the good sense to intellectualize
and abstract you into a psychological or
metaphysical or socio-narrative ghost.
i still believed in You as a living reality,
like my heartbeat--only closer.
in my adulthood, i have had religious
experiences like joan, though never seeing you
with my eyes or hearing you with my ears.
but still your voice pours in from the center
of my head and the depths of my gut
at the same time, and i cannot help but regard it.
after three days' fast, my list of questions tightly
clenched, i thought i heard You clearly--that you
even said that I should know Your voice by now.
i wondered if that was laughter i heard in Your tone.
You told me that my answer was coming
and coming soon, that i would get the call
i have been praying for for weeks. but it's
after the close of business hours now, and the
dead weight of my voiceless phone hangs in my
pocket like a millstone.
did i misunderstand You? did I jump the gun,
breaking my fast a few hours too soon, confusing
my own masquerading inner-corpse's whisper for
Your soft shepherd's accent? and does breaking
a fast too early negate the whole experience?
(do not pass Go, my son, and you can forget about
or is this Your way of really really testing my faith,
to see if I will curse You at the very moment my
Sunday certainty is shaken by the Tuesday silence?
did that ol' Devil ask You to let him stretch his hand
out against me? cuz it sure feels like that's what's been
happening already. ("...and I alone escaped to tell you.")
i never doubted You. i still don't.
but i doubt myself.
i doubt whether i really have ears to hear, because
it seems like something was lost in the translation,
and i could use just a little bit of clarification,