My “mistake” poem for Writer’s Digest Wednesday Poetry Prompt.
I drive through the neighborhoods
we played in. Nostalgia
directs my way. I drink that
now, weaned off the Holy Spirit.
I never meant to cast you away,
but I thought Jesus called my name.
Turns out Pastor Dan just wanted a lamb.
I said my prayers. I read the Bible
too much. I saw God everywhere,
but you, they said, were Jezebel.
Your cursing would send me to hell;
their verses ensured all would be well
if only I cut my life free of sin. You.
They robbed me in my depression.
They stole my money, they stole my friends,
they stole my joy and called it sin.
Now I sit alone
in coffeehouses and hope
to catch you on coincidence
to repair the bridge I burnt in purgatory,
but you left the valley years ago.
I remained in the wilderness.
I learned how to survive without manna.
I sufficed on morsels from ravens
and piss I purified with machines and alchemy.
I outgrew the church, rose from my knees,
learned to walk on naked feet,
but that you-shaped hole remains.
I fill it with godly women–your old BFFs–
and alcoholic time machines that bring me back
to you. If I was me then as I am now,
we might’ve been more than friends.
I wouldn’t resist temptation.
I wouldn’t bury my talents in the dirt.
I wouldn’t jump off the mountaintop
we built on top of your home
based on the promises of his word alone.
I wouldn’t take heaven for granted.
Like Peter, I now fish in the sea
for something to fill me
until the day I see you on my shore
beckoning me beside you again.