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Mrs. Buddha Calls on Mrs. God by Patricia McMillen

Mrs. Buddha Calls on Mrs. God

by Patricia McMillen

published in New Ohio Review, 2000

Tea or coffee? asks Mrs. God, hopeful

for an excuse to fire up her brand-new

espresso machine, a gift from Mr. God

last Christmas (he said it was from Santa,

their little joke). Mrs. Buddha can’t

decide. So many ways to burn water!

she marvels, wondering if it’s polite

to marvel, here in Heaven. Certainly

it would be bad form back in Nirvana

but everything’s so different here—why,

outside the front gate, didn’t she just see

a billboard instructing her to “Choose Life”?

What’s that about? she wonders—failed

attempt at humor, maybe? Still, it gets

boring back home: each day the same,

so quiet, no rebirths, no red eggs and ginger,

no—you know—fireworks. Sometimes

she finds herself dreaming of one last

turn dressed in the clothes of skin and bone,

imagining the new unmet desires,

diseases, deaths a destiny as Dragon or Dog

might bring. She’d miss her Mr. B, but he’d

be fine. She’d leave him plenty of tea cakes

to renounce—pumpkin spice, zucchini,

imported Madagascar vanilla—like those her new

friend proffers now, with a cool glass of cider,

fresh-pressed from fruit right off the tree.

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