Poetry: Looking for God in the American Southwest
By Rachel Linton
Photo by Ken Cheung via Upsplash.
Take the highway south and east.
We’re out here looking for the small ‘g’,
the gods that live among the jackrabbits
and the cacti and the dust, not the capital-G
Gd because I don’t need him right now--
I’m Jewish, I don’t need the theological equivalent
of arguing philosophy with my dad.
Not right now, anyway; I need what
my boss calls “a change of scenery”
and I call “not spending eighteen hours a day
in my childhood bedroom”--
I need to smash something; shatter
this impermeable status, find a way
to restart time, because the usual things
like waiting, going to bed and waking up
in the morning, or watching the sand
slide through the hourglass just
aren’t cutting it anymore.
I’m not going mad--got to give
the mind and body credit, they keep trucking on--
skin under eyes bruised dark then darker
until the brain puts itself out for fourteen hours,
one shot, recharge. I drink coffee for the rest.
Still the dirty clothes goes in the hamper,
laundry every week, vacuum every other.
Spinning the hamster wheel of adulthood.
At some point you’ve got to get out;
it’s not going camping when you’re really in it
for the highway, foot on the gas, sixteen, eighteen,
twenty-one, god of the interstate how am I almost
twenty-four, where do years go, where did
this last year go, especially?
I am looking for the god that ate it.
I am looking out over the desert, the hungriest landscape.
The desert has been starving for many, many years,
and hungry creatures stick together, circle the drain themselves
with no water to carry them down. If there is a god of suffering
he lives in the Mojave. If there is a god of time,
somewhere out here, bleached white,
are his bones.