When I call You av,
I don’t mean father,

that is to say:
I’ve got one of them
and You’re not it.

I’m not gonna call you parent either —
the word’s too plastic
it’s what a robot would call
his creator

and You crafted me in blood and muscles and imagination,
mashed-up bits and
leftover corners of my ancestry
sliced out my shape with a cookie cutter and

then destroyed the mold
so no one can mess up
exactly how I can
and nobody can pray
the exact same way.

I list the things You did for me today —
kicked me out of bed,
didn’t let that car run me over
didn’t let me fall on the train tracks
didn’t let me get stabbed by a random psychopath
and calmed me down
from all the times
I almost was that random psychopath.

And You aren’t my mother
You never made lunch for me,
just made grain grow from the ground
made the science that makes it mix with water
and plump into dough

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Give someone a fish
and they’ll have dinner for one night
Teach someone to fish
they’ll have a job their whole life
But create fish
and an ocean for them to swim in
and a world to contain that ocean
and You create
all possibility

I used to dread science in school
all those absolutes and rules
Instead I sheltered myself in stories,
magical realms where everything exists
and you could get away with anything
as long as you were creative

Now I look at scientists covetously
wishing for their absolutes,
wishing I knew
as well as they did
how well G-d works
they look at a rock, a river, a volcano
and know exactly what You did
to make it flow and explode
all I can do is look at it
and see just how deeply
I haven’t been listening

A long time ago
my parents told me
one day I’d understand the world
the way they did

Now I’m a parent
and so grateful I’m not seeing the world
the way they saw it

and instead
that I’m seeing the world
the way they made it.


picture by David Blackwell