Where he went

I was praying again to be rid of desire or
this body, who knows, when the answer came –

in the convulsions of cells, brain claiming
these unbroken thoughts as its own. God was home,

safe inside an idea of himself, an unfixable
flaring in the dark periphery. Familiar hymns

lifted me up out of the soil of flesh – I held
my breath for nine labyrinthine years. No god

led me out. Now, as the city rises above us, we
can't hear the river of traffic, see no spirits

coiled around trees in the park. Some things are
deeper than culture. I've carried my father's bones

like sand, low in the pockets, learning the meanings
of silence too slow. Where I grew up,

the abandoned lots were blessed with such dust
and boys riding bikes joyfully too fast. Each prayer

folds over these words – God, hold me, this
body, I don't want it...
All the hours I spent

in church, I never noticed, but remember now,
how in open worship time, the women told stories,

the men delivered lessons. And I remember
my voice as I spoke, a little tremor I ignored.