Like Blood

The real god doesn’t demand belief.
He left us on dry land
in a garden and asked us
how we wanted to live.
Once god was like a man.
Now god is like an ocean.
Calm from the shore–
brown pelicans, sailboats
large enough for meals
at tables, a tanker transporting
crude oil to the refinery
up north.
We don’t see the peril.
We’re not alarmed
by the sea’s bright fleece
on the sand, or by the
silver mirror it leaves
reflecting empty space.
We live as if reconciled
to peace. We live as if the
ancient terror of fire
and flood were now
long past.
We have climate;
we have culture.
Life is habit.
We’ve ruled out
paradox and grief.
It’s a tame god now.
A vast god, and deep,
but keeping mostly to himself.
We can taste him on our skin.
Like blood, he will enter our house.

Marc Petersen is a poet and photographer living in Santa Clara, CA. His work has appeared in Narrative, The Nebraska Review, The Georgia Review, The Sun, and elsewhere.