Shut It Down

God walks like this across the earth,
he thinks. Each step the clang of a judge's gavel,
the clomp of hooves on the coarsest gravel.

He trods the red church carpet on one lonely summer Sunday;
counts another public sin for each Stainmaster strand.
Fouled white girls with black boys, the joys of children
poking things inside each other,
mothers locking fathers up for a few
small scattered bruises.
The Bible's toilet reading now;
God suffered what the quaint past loses.

There, in the pew with her broken kneeler,
sat Doc Hart, the healer with the
valentine of a name. Lots of sweethearts,
little shame. And there, where the plaque says
"Jesus Falls," the lawyer's daughter draws herself
in hearts with the diner's night waitress.
Parents shrug and shut their eyes; say it's best
for children to feel free. That's why there's gum in the hymnals,
guns where good Davy's slingshot should be.

It makes him afraid. God said one good man
and a town could be saved. But the earth? Too big
for a man with a closet, a mop, and a broom.
He shrugs, scrubs away, hopes the day
His verdict comes won't come too soon.

At the front of the church he mops his brow,
flips a switch. He watches the slowing ceiling fans.
Was there heat like this before the first man? Sleepy, warmth and
holy silence, before we turned God into Job?
Propellers on ten little globes stop spinning,
squeal a wheely whining sound
and he wonders when He'll get the itch
to flip the switch, and shut it down.