By Nina Forsythe

God's Subtlety

God’s Subtlety

They say God beckons
instead of pushing,
that he knocks
rather than barging in,
so when I long for him
I turn off the radio and listen
for the still, small voice.

But sometimes I tire
of taking the initiative.
Just once, I’d like to be overwhelmed,
to be taken
as by a lover
or an ocean wave.

I want something
not to quell this restlessness
but to reward it,
not to quench the thirst to know
but to be fully satisfied
even while not understanding.

It couldn’t last, of course,
if the old stories are to be believed,
and what I’d glimpse would be,
at best, God’s backside.
All the difficulties of interpretation
to occupy the rest of my life —
and the memory of that tumble.


The Other One

You didn’t always like him
but he was comprehensible,
which, in the end, rendered him

You wanted to live without lies
but that didn’t help you
to know the truth.

You wanted to live
in the world as it was,
no one’s flashlight
choosing your path for you,

yet what’s more artificial
than the meanings you invented?

There’s no resurrecting
the other one,
who was a protection
against the one
who was too large,
too inexplicable.

Still, something insists
there is a god you did not invent.
Just because you want it to be true
doesn’t mean it isn’t.

About the Author

Nina Forsythe has an MFA from Bennington and has poems, translations, and reviews in a variety of magazines. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and was awarded the 2010 and 2012 Backbone Mountain Review Poetry Prize. She conducts creative writing workshops for students of various ages in western Maryland.

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