Thank Goodness By Andrea Gibson

At the end of your ten day meditation retreat,
you got in your car.
drove thirty peaceful feet and ran over a bird,
splayed its holy guts on the pavement like God
finger-painting “Fuck you” across the deep breath you were holding they way your mother held her first born.
You,
thank goodness, were torn from the Bible the day before they burned it
for the verse about dancing to tambourines.

Once you saw the blood of Christ on a knife
carving redwood trees into church pews.
Now every Sunday morning you hear glaciers melting and you cry easy as a one night stand
never ever is,
when you see the feathers in your rear-view mirror
scattering like prayers,
searching for a safe place to land.
Hold me to my word when I tell you I will leave today,
catch a bus ticket west just to stand in the centre of your highway
blocking traffic ‘til every feather’s answered.
I’ve seen too many prayers
caught in the grills of 18 wheelers and folks like us
got shoulder blades that rust in the rain,
but they’re still g-sharp whenever our spinal cords are tuned to the key of redemption.

So go ahead, World, pick us to make things better.

We’ve been building a bridge through the centre of this song
since Mother Theresa replaced the walls of her church with the weeping cries of Calcutta’s orphaned ghettos.
You wanna know what the right wing never got?
We never question the existence of God.
What we question is his bulldozer
turning Palestine into a gas chamber.
What we question is the manger in Macy’s
and the sweatshops our children call the North Pole.
What we question are the sixty swollen lashes on the back of a woman found guilty of the crime
of allowing herself to be brutally raped.
What we question is the idea of heaven having gates.

Silly.
Have you never stood on the end of a pier watching the moon live up to her name?
Have you never looked in the eyes of a thief and seen his children’s hungry bellies?
Some days
My heart beats so fast my ribcage sounds like a fuckin railroad track
and my breath is a train I just can’t catch. So when my friends
go filling their lungs with yes,
when they’re peeling off their armour and falling like snowflakes
on your holy tongue, God
collect the feathers. We are thick skin covering nothing but wishbones.
Break in-
You’ll find notebooks full of jaw lines we wrote to religion’s clenched fist, Yes–
we bruise easy, but the sound of our bouncing back is a grand canyon of choir claps
and our five pointed stars have always been open to the answer–whatever it is.
I know David argued with the chisel.
I know he said, Make me softer.
When those tourists come looking for a hero
I want the rain to puddle in my pores.
Build me holy like that.

Build me a kite flown out a bedroom window at midnight
the day freedom set its curfew to 9:11.
My heaven is a snow globe.
The blizzard will always be worth the touch of Your hand
shaking me awake like a boy taking deep breaths
all the way down to the dents in his shins
like he’s building a telephone from a string and two tin cans.
He knows God’s number by heart.
He knows it isn’t listed in any book.
Look me in the bull’s eye,
in the laws I broke and the promises I didn’t.
in the batteries I found when the lights went out
and the prayers I found when the brakes did too.
I got this moment and no idea when it will end.
But every second of this life is scripture
and to know that
trust me, we don’t need to be born
again.

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