AMORAK AUTOCORRECTS TO AMORAL
which surely comes as no surprise to anyone
in the town where I grew up. I hated
that place. All those two-story New Deal homes
laid out in grids between churches.
The town mall where we practiced baseball
in summer, football in fall,
learning early the value of muscle
& God: a prayer before every game.
I’ve never felt so vulnerable, my bowed head
a lie. We had moved there
from 700 miles away & I always knew
I would leave. My first girlfriend
dumped me because of God.
She was right. Our mailman stopped by
to witness to my mother
about the nature of love.
My friends slipped New Testaments
into my bag at sleepovers.
This isn’t the whole story.
I still don’t listen very well
though it’s not true
that I hated it there.
That girl did teach me to kiss,
after all, the possibilities
of tongue & the small miracle
of holding hands in the dark;
she taught me to believe
in innocence. Each spring, the river
flooded. So much time has passed
& now I watch my own daughter
ignoring me. I wonder
who she will break up with & why.
Where will she feel at home?
I drove her through that town once
on our way to the ocean.
Predictably, everything was smaller
than I remembered, the whole
experience less meaningful
than I hoped. An entire town
in need of a fresh coat of paint.
If God was still there,
we did not see him.