by Alexander Motyl

God is in the trees,
is how Thomas Merton once put it—
long after he had stopped drinking, cursing, and carousing
and long after he had stopped speaking to the world.
Now, I don’t doubt that Tom was right,
but my problem is that
I can’t climb trees
or swing on vines Tarzan-style
or look upwards too long without getting a pain in the neck.
So, with all due respect to a man who chatted with an angel
in the dead of night in the Village,
I’m inclined to think Tom didn’t get it quite right.
I for one know for a fact that
God is at De Roberti’s—specifically
in the baba au rhum (the one without the cream, of course),
and in the thin glass of cold water
and in the bent fork on the scratched hexagonal plate.
To be fair, Tom couldn’t possibly have known
all of God’s hangouts.
After all, like all native New Yorkers,
God obviously prefers First Avenue to Perry Street.

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