God Is An Irishman Living On the South Shore of Long Island
Look at my clams, He says to Himself, they are perfect.
Sometimes, He makes purple sand from oyster shells.
Sometimes, He creates the blue in the bay
for which no word exists.
There are plenty of places to drink here—
Clancy’s, Paddy’s, O’ This and O’ That—
but who has time? Not Him,
hanging around St. Patrick’s in Bay Shore,
still mourning the lost of the movie theater across the street,
now a YMCA. Not that He has anything
against Y’s, of course, but that theater was old, grand,
a perfect complement to this church
of stained glass and Latin.
Once in a while He gets a feeling like a hole
in His chest, makes Him wonder what’s going on in Boston.
When God sighs the bridges to the beaches
shake, the walls of the malls quiver.
All the Our Lady of’s wince
in unison, practice their brogues.
His melancholy can create hurricanes,
a drop in real estate prices, garbage barges
dumping loads too close to shore.
He enjoys the parks, the delis, the few
Irish restaurants buttressed by pizzerias.
But His true love is the beach, schlumping
around the dunes, startling young lovers
secreted behind tall grasses.
Oh, God! they moan,
What will my parents say?
God turns and shrugs, picks up a few shells and
skips them into waves, watching as
they sink all the way down
and then stares across the ocean to home.
Originally published in my 2006 book, The Skeleton Holding Up the Sky,
published by Main Street Press.