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Owens, Elisabeth, R. (ed.) / Encore: more of parallel press poets

Chapman, Robin S.
Praying to the god of sixty-one orders of magnitude,   pp. 14-15

Page 14

Praying to the God of Sixty-One Orders of Magnitude 
Dear God, out of the whole wide beach 
the children have chosen the driftwood ark, 
salt enclosure, for play; with glad cries 
they throw over their buckets and trowels, 
the castles and moats at ocean's edge, 
to climb into the lean-to of logs. What box 
have I built for you? The play father, 
coming home from work, the play mother 
making tea and bread? Who can you be 
in this world that unfolds within worlds? 
Maker of flood and rainbows? 
Six billion of us chant or pray or cry 
our needs, hosts ourselves to congregations 
of eyelid mites, dissident colonies of e-coli, 
riverine dwellers in lymph and blood, 
and those strangers we carry in every cell, 
Eve's mitochondrial energy wheels, 
with the hijacked machinery of limb buds 
and bilateral symmetry, of memory's buzz. 
Are you god of a trillion billion stars? 
And of smaller worlds yet, curled into spaces 
of vibrating string, god of the quantum 
universe? Are you the god of the child 
who invents her absent father? 
Are you god of the mother giving birth, 
and the lovers who wish only to touch? 
Of the prairie vole retrieving her pups 
from fire? Oh god of every magnitude 
and attraction, bend and warp, of beginning 
and end, are you small enough for planet Earth? 
Robin Chapman 
[previously published in The Spoon River Poetry Review] 

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