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Mrs. God

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God and Mrs. God in watercolor blue skirt desolate.
 — David Schubert

I am not a woman, I
am a man. Made in His image.
I keep the house, a gray Cape Cod,
and broom it well. I wear a skirt to be
comfortable. I build the fire.
When my husband comes home I don’t pester Him with questions.
He knows where to find His slippers and His pipe.
Out our kitchen back door I see the prophets freight-hopping
the long bad Western in ancient English
that no one need read to know. Everyone speaks his part:
the women keep their heads down
while the men are losing theirs. Children?
How often I’ve prayed for a child, which means
slipping meaning looks to my husband as we rock
together on the porch of an evening, drinking lemonade
and playing Scrabble. If He lets me win
it’s a sign. I haven’t won yet.
But the neighbor children come and go
and take the pies cooling on the windowsill
without thanks. Sometimes terrible things
happen to them — some man
spills the blood
cradled so carefully in every hand. I accept
no blame. The pies were there to leave alone,
or not. God says nothing
but taps out His pipe, stands, with a hand
to ease His aching back. Time for bed.
Our bed is a rolling ocean that I tread alone
just a head bobbing above the ash-colored waves
while the moon waits for me and everything
to drown, to know again the peace
the moon knows, the silence interrupted by astronauts,
little green men, the spectacle a mother
can’t help but make of  herself. God
comes to bed
and I clutch a spar, a barrel, an oar,
and ride out the night with it. When He fucks me
still He doesn’t speak, for speech is creation
but I rock with him, I roll inside
what cannot be comprehended, in force. I forget
that I’m a man, I forget the wild sea, I let slip
my grasp and the colors I have
that cover me. Once I dreamed
of the morning: we left the house together
in identical sober suits, we stood in the street
and beheld the sad little town, wreathed in black crepe
for its children. As though the morning
could show me His face. He coughed.
And when I awoke
in our ordinary bed, streaked by sun through leaded windows, I held
my baby to my breast and watched the roof  beam
and whispered to her, It’s all right,
we are safe only and always
from our dreams.

Source: Poetry (May 2014)

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This poem originally appeared in the May 2014 issue of Poetry magazine

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Mrs. God

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  • Born in New York and raised in northern New Jersey, poet Joshua Corey earned a BA at Vassar College, an MA and MFA at the University of Montana, and a PhD at Cornell University. Influenced by Charles Olson, Wallace Stevens, and Robert Duncan, Corey pushes formal structure toward fracture, engaging themes of failure, desire, and the pastoral. In a review of Severance Songs for Poetry Northwest, poet Zach Savich observed that Corey’s poems “are sonnet-like less for their containers than for the bright shapes they contain. The sense of a sonnet, these poems suggest, isn’t in formal configuration but in a manner of speaking, of talking to oneself, of talking things through. In Severance Songs, this manner reels through landscape to render the ‘pool of newsworthy airs’ that ‘surrounds my perception.’” In a 2012 interview with Stephen Ross for Wave Composition, Corey stated, “More and more, what interests me about...

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