Terry Lucas

When God Moved Out

At first, He visited the children every weekend:
they’d sleep over in the small chapel
He’d taken on the corner across from 
The Divine Hand Palm Reading Parlor.

He bathed them in the baptistery beneath
a mural of olive trees on the banks of the River
Jordan, calling down from His study to stop
splashing while He was answering 

evening prayers. Later He’d descend,
tell bedtime stories replete with apocryphal
animal friends, tuck them into sheepskin
pallets He’d made to cushion the whorled-grained pews.

Sundays He’d take them to the movies, slip
into a vacant theater, create something new
on the big screen, or maybe show reruns
of the great flood, the dinosaur extinction.

On the Sabbath, of course, God would rest
at the beach in a chaise lounge, call up dolphins
as playmates, periodically check in
with the new girlfriend on His cell phone.

After the divorce was final, He came around
once or twice a year—Christmas, Easter—
but He was always there in spirit: the weddings, 
christenings, funerals—lurking in the corners 
of His children’s dreams of eternal punishment.