sundays when god has abandoned us
by Ella Staats
we wake with the pale sun.
we roll onto our backs,
exhale the dreams caught on our tongues.
nobody greets us.
as we boil water in the kettle
we say a prayer for the new week,
though we have been told no one is listening.
it has been posted on billboards and telephones poles,
scrawled with spray paint on brick walls,
mailed in official-looking envelopes with no return address:
god is out of the office indefinitely.
calls will not be returned at this time.
we sit on the back porch
with a steaming mug between our palms
and search for signs.
nothing rustles in the undergrowth,
no chimes twinkle in the trees;
the sky has been a flat gray-white for weeks now,
and we are starting to wonder if it was ever blue at all.
it seems such a ridiculous color for a sky to be.
in the evenings we live by the glow of television screens,
move like shadows haunting the places we call home.
we find small things to worship—
a perfectly-seasoned stew,
a house moth perched unobtrusively on the wall,
a well-oiled door that barely breathes as it swings open on its hinges.
when our mouths go dry,
we know it is time to surrender to sleep.
we draw our shades,
turn our backs to the windows,
and hope that in the velvet black of the night
our deity will return,
sweeping down the empty streets on a cool breeze,
and in our sleep we will turn ever so slightly
and breathe a trace of a sigh
and we will know.