Like putting a strawberry
on my tongue
and trying to count the seeds
by sense of touch
Like flawlessly recalling
the image of a raspberry
without being able to say
the number of drupelets
What I experience
and what I know
of you are
the same difference
Terry Trowbridge’s poems have appeared in The New Quarterly, Borderless Journal, Carousel, subTerrain, paperplates, Fine Line, The Dalhousie Review, untethered, The Nashwaak Review, Orbis, Snakeskin Poetry, M58, CV2, Brittle Star, Lady Lazarus Experimental Poetry, Quail Bell, The American Mathematical Monthly, Canadian Woman Studies, The Mathematical Intelligencer, The Journal of Humanistic Mathematics, Academy of the Heart and Mind, Grey Borders, and many, many more. His lit crit has appeared in Ariel, Hamilton Arts & Letters, Episteme, Studies in Social Justice, and The /t3mz/ Review.
I have a problem with authority figures.
The cop told me to cross the road,
but I stood firm. The fire fighter
told me to jump from the window,
but I would not abandon my property.
Then one day God showed up at my door.
I had much to discuss with Him.
He wasn’t an old guy with a beard;
He was a child. I invited Him inside
and after looking around to see
if anyone was watching, quickly
closed the door. I obviously
couldn’t offer Him a beer,
and I didn’t have any milk or juice.
He was very quiet at first
but that was to be expected after
His many years of silence.
I hadn’t caught sight of Him
for quite a long time, since I saw
a late winter sunset coming through snowy
trees and felt a glow filling my frame.
I wanted to ask Him about famine
and war, but it was hard to stay mad
at a child. He had grass stains
on the knees of his jeans.
I asked if He’d been playing outside.
He said He was gardening
as He meandered around the room,
picking up knickknacks I’d collected
from around the globe.
I was raised catholic and though
I don’t go to church anymore,
I am still superstitious enough
to cross myself daily, especially
when I am frightened and alone.
I thought about telling Him I
didn’t really believe in Him, seeing
if that might make Him disappear,
but right then I remembered my manners.
“Can I get you anything to eat or drink?”
I asked. “Water is fine,” he replied.
Then we sat on the couch
as God thumbed through my vinyl collection,
really not paying much attention to me,
and we discussed Mystery.
I asked Him a million questions.
Eventually He got sick of answering
and started for the exit.
“You’re all a mystery to me,”
He said. “I don’t know what I’d
do without the entertainment.
Take care.” “You too,” I replied,
Devin Gmyrek received an MFA degree in Creative Writing from Saint Mary’s College of California. After graduate school, he lived for a year in Uruguay, where he translated poetry from Spanish to English and penned a novel. He has taught at various secondary schools, and he now lives in Maine.