Everybody is doing trigger warnings now, so To Whom It May Concern, I hated God when my sister died. I didn’t know it was coming, but we were at the hospital in a private room for family, and our pastor was there, the one who baptized me, and he said Let us pray, and I kept my eyes open to watch everybody, but listened, and when he said Sometimes God has to take back his angels, I was smart enough to know, I was 14, that he was saying she was gone or going and I loathed him so much, he didn’t see the look on my face, that blazing anger blank heart f-you-forever look, but then my parents told us we were going to take her off life support, and I died then, and after they took away the machines we had solitude, family time the five of us, mom, dad, me, my brother, and my sister. Holding her body she was warm she wasn’t conscious but she could hear us I know it, then they opened the door for other family to say goodbye and I was hugging her back in her bed, my face against her face, my tears wetting her cheek it was flush and her wavy hair, I wanted to hold her forever I was hurting but felt selfish like other people wanted to say goodbye too so I let go, and her head kind of tilted to the side and I straightened it so I was a mess then goodbye goodbye we left there to clean the house for mourners to come.
Copyright © 2018 by CM Burroughs. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 11, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.
About this Poem
“My forthcoming book of poems, Master Suffering, contains a series of poems titled ‘God Letter,’ which I’ve written in order to interrogate the intersections of ordinary incidents and traumatic experiences with religion and spirituality. This ‘God Letter’ demonstrates my personal inability to sustain faith following the death of my younger sister. I composed the poem with some difficulty and rendered it in absolute truth.”
CM Burroughs is the author of The Vital System (Tupelo Press, 2012).
Date Published: 2018-04-11
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/god-letter