I was thinking about God
Like, maybe She’s a painter–Imagine Her touching the brush
To the tip of Her tongue, dragging it through blackberry morning
Daubing globs of purple-black onto the edge of the sky
Delighting in whimsy, chuckling that when we see sparkles
We think our brains have broken

Maybe She goes on a walk
Pauses to finger the feathered faces of zinnias
Poking up around the trash bins
Notices the ragged mewling–lifts the pitiful stray from the dust
Cradles him in the bowl of her cupped hands
Impervious to protesting claws

Maybe She’s a baker
Brushing egg onto the brown backs of brioches
Piling scones fat with sugared currants onto chipped china plates
Smiles at the wet-nosed neighborhood children
Offers each the biggest chocolate cookie on the tray
Doesn’t even make them wash their hands

My daughter cannot sleep
Since returning from summer camp
She crept into our room last night crushed by gaping loneliness
Trembling in the artificial cool, ears throbbing with the absence
Of bullfrogs and cicadas
I curled her bite-scratched limbs into mine and cried into her tangled hair
She smells like Outside. She says she found God there.

Today we went to lunch
At the sleepy Thai place where I once gorged on egg rolls and broccoli
Sopped with coconut curry, felt her roll and bloom inside my belly.
She nibbled her shrimp and looked around the room like a trapped thing
I was helpless, overly cheery, filling the space with useless sound.
As we went to leave, her child-hand clasped in my grasping fingers,
She noticed a young woman in a booth by the door
A counselor she knew in this foreign Holy land,
Leaped into her arms, sighed into her neck, giggled beneath her gaze

Maybe God plays chess, the benevolent kind. With cheating.
She moves the pieces toward one another, close enough so that just for a moment
Our heartbeats sync, cicada-wing beat and sing,
But yes, You are Beloved.