Marjorie Maddox: “How to Fit God into a Poem”


Part I

Read him.
Break him into stanzas.
Give him a pet albatross
and a bon voyage party.
Glue archetypes on his wings with Elmers,
or watch as he soars past the Slough of Despond
in a DC-10.

Draw wrinkles on his brow with eyeliner
until his beard turns as white as forgiven sin.
Explicate him.
Call him “Love.”
Translate him into Norwegian.
Examine original manuscripts
for proof of his kinship to Shakespeare.

Make him rhyme,
Cram him into iambic pentameter.
Let him read War and Peace ten times
and give a book report to third graders.
Edit out references to sin
and insert miracles.
Award him a Nobel Prize.

Then, after you’ve published him annually
in The New Yorker for thirty years,
crucify him. Proclaim it a suicide.

Part II

Let him whirl through your veins
like a hurricane
until your cells gyrate,
until you salivate at the sound of his breath.
Let him bristle your nerves like cat hairs
and laminate your limbs.
On All Saints’ Day, meditate
and wait patiently.
Then, he will come,
then, he will twist your tongue,
pucker your skin,
spew out his life on the page.


Read more selections from Maddox’s collection Weeknights at the Cathedral (WordTech Editions, 2006) here. Read a review in Arabesques Press here.

One comment on “Marjorie Maddox: “How to Fit God into a Poem”

  1. Wow, that is a great poem. Thanks.

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