"the god who loves you" by carl dennis

It must be troubling for the god who loves you   

To ponder how much happier you’d be today   

Had you been able to glimpse your many futures.

It must be painful for him to watch you on Friday evenings   

Driving home from the office, content with your week—

Three fine houses sold to deserving families—

Knowing as he does exactly what would have happened   

Had you gone to your second choice for college,   

Knowing the roommate you’d have been allotted   

Whose ardent opinions on painting and music   

Would have kindled in you a lifelong passion.   

A life thirty points above the life you’re living   

On any scale of satisfaction. And every point   

A thorn in the side of the god who loves you.   

You don’t want that, a large-souled man like you

Who tries to withhold from your wife the day’s disappointments   

So she can save her empathy for the children.   

And would you want this god to compare your wife   

With the woman you were destined to meet on the other campus?   

It hurts you to think of him ranking the conversation   

You’d have enjoyed over there higher in insight   

Than the conversation you’re used to.

And think how this loving god would feel   

Knowing that the man next in line for your wife   

Would have pleased her more than you ever will   

Even on your best days, when you really try.   

Can you sleep at night believing a god like that

Is pacing his cloudy bedroom, harassed by alternatives   

You’re spared by ignorance? The difference between what is

And what could have been will remain alive for him   

Even after you cease existing, after you catch a chill   

Running out in the snow for the morning paper,

Losing eleven years that the god who loves you   

Will feel compelled to imagine scene by scene   

Unless you come to the rescue by imagining him   

No wiser than you are, no god at all, only a friend   

No closer than the actual friend you made at college,

The one you haven’t written in months. Sit down tonight   

And write him about the life you can talk about   

With a claim to authority, the life you’ve witnessed,   

Which for all you know is the life you’ve chosen.


Popular Posts