Sharon Olds

What if God

And what if God had been watching when my mother 
came into my room, at night, to lie down on me
and pray and cry? What did He do when her
long adult body rolled on me
like lava from the top of the mountain
and the magma popped from her ducts, and my bed 
shook from the tremors, the cracking of my nature 
across? What was He? Was He a bison
to lower His partly extinct head
and suck His Puritan phallus while we cried
and prayed to Him or was He a squirrel,
reaching through her hole in my shell, His arm
up to the elbow in the yolk of my soul,
stirring, stirring the gold? Or was He
a kid in Biology, dissecting me
while she held my split carapace apart
so He could firk out the eggs, or was He a man
entering me while she pried my spirit
open in the starry dark— 
she said that all we did was done in His sight
so He must have seen her weep, into my 
hair, and slip my soul from between my 
ribs like a tiny hotel soap, He 
washed His hands of me as I washed my 
hands of Him. Is there a God in the house? 
Is there a God in the house? Then reach down
and take that woman off that child's body, 
take that woman by the nape of the neck like a young cat, 
and lift her up, and deliver her over to me.

spoken = Linsay Rousseau