When God

is your brother, solitary, first
born, aloof and one step ahead,
able but not always willing
to share his wisdom.

When God is an idol
under your pillow, listening,
you assume, never speaking,
though you sometimes swear
there’s a whisper clear as the strum
of a Sunday night busker,
his well-worn guitar like a wand,
granting a present for the subway
traveler and the four weary workers
entering a dark tunnel, miniature
searchlights strapped to their helmets,
like cock-eyed halos.

When God is supposed to be
mid-air but you stumble upon her
in a puddle soaking your shoes
on the very corner where you first met
a lover, the one who left, saying,
“Don’t look back.” Though you do.
You look. And look. Certain
as stone he will appear, rising
from the waters of your devotion,
to dispel any fear that it all
might have been nothing, just
nonsense in your twisted head.





Michael Montlack is author of two books of poetry, most recently Daddy (NYQ Books, 2020), and editor of the Lambda Finalist essay anthology My Diva: 65 Gay Men on the Women Who Inspire Them (University of Wisconsin Press). His recent publications include Prairie Schooner, Cincinnati Review, The Offing, Kenyon Review, and North American Review. In 2020, two of his poems were nominated for Pushcart Prizes and another was a finalist for Best of the Net. He lives in NYC.

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