Sunday Jun 23

Marcia Southwick is the author of three books of poetry, The Night Won't Save Anyone (U of Georgia P), Why The River Disappears (Carnegie Mellon UP), and A Saturday Night at the Flying Dog, a winner of The Field Poetry Prize from Oberlin College Press. She also has started a company, B.BOLD Jewelry for Boomer Girls, an online jewelry business featuring her creations in silver, gold, and other materials. She lives in Santa Fe.


The Boardwalk

If heaven were just at the other end of this boardwalk,
I'd believe in it. I'm consulting a psychic who interprets
handwriting, reads tarot cards & makes energy balancing jewelry
out of minerals & shark spines. She clutches a lock of my hair in her fist,
& my car keys, and says that if I don't start believing in an afterlife,
someone in France will die tomorrow waiting for an organ transplant.
I came here just for fun. I wouldn't take this psychic's advice
even if she owned a little piece of heaven & agreed to sell it to me
for much less than she paid for it. According to the greater fool theory,
you can always find another sucker like yourself. Assuming that
this little piece of heaven resembles a plot of land, what happens
if you discover it's a flood zone? How do you haggle
over the price of an ark? You'd need to sell, and fast. Otherwise,
an auction could be held on heaven's courthouse steps & God
would judge you harshly. If he's already foreclosed on your mortgage,
you'd also be worrying about taxes & improving your credit scores.
Wouldn't it be simpler to be a bankrupt human being here on earth?
It's easier to work things out with the IRS than it is to have an omniscient
& very large MAN calling you, especially if he can do it without a phone.
According to his worshippers, God can see through walls & pry
into bank accounts, instantly finding out whether or not you're broke.
He's got X-ray vision and can see right through your skin. He's also
capable of wiretapping your thoughts. Who'd pray to a God
like that? Wouldn't you rather just be cremated, ask someone to put
your ashes in a jar, & be given a last chance to request that your ashes
be scattered on a real beach w/ real dogs catching frisbees, and men
in tank suits so tight that their bellies hang out? It's simpler here.
Nobody doubts the existence of whitecaps or surfers & it's not that hard
to accept the slim possibility that a shark will bite somebody's leg.