Stephen Dunn reads
Talk to God
You need Flash to listen to this track.
Thank him for your little house on the periphery, its splendid view of the wildflowers in summer, and the nervous, forked prints of deer in that same field after a snowstorm. Thank him even for the monotony that drives us to make and destroy and dissect what otherwise would be merely the lush, unnamed world. Ease into your misgivings. Ask him if in his weakness he was ever responsible for a pettiness—some weather, say, brought in to show who’s boss when no one seemed sufficiently moved by a sunset, or the shape of an egg. Ask him if when he gave us desire he had underestimated its power. And when, if ever, did he realize love is not inspired by obedience? Be respectful when you confess to him you began to redefine heaven as you discovered certain pleasures. And sympathize with how sad it is that awe has been replaced by small enthusiasms, that you’re aware things just aren’t the same these days, that you wish for him a few evenings surrounded by the old, stunned silence. Maybe it will be possible then to ask, Why this sorry state of affairs? Why—after so much hatefulness done in his name—no list of corrections nailed to some rectory door? Remember to thank him for the silkworm, apples in season, photosynthesis, the northern lights. And be sincere. But let it be known you’re willing to suffer only in proportion to your errors, not one unfair moment more. Insist on this as if it could be granted: not one moment more.