Jun 3, 2014

His T-shirt says, “I am God”.
I think - My lucky day!
I’ll run over,
shake his hand,
ask for an autograph.
I might never have this chance again.

But, as God sits there
waiting to step into
the Vice Principal’s office,
I look closely –
at his faded T-shirt
two sizes too big,
sneakers older than he is,
thin legs swinging
barely long enough to reach the floor,
dirty hands massaging a dirty forehead
and think –
This is not God.
This is a little boy
who maybe swore in the lavatory
or tussled on the playground.
A child who probably forgot
to eat breakfast,
did not expect a good-bye kiss.
When he gets home from school today
he’ll let himself in
with the key
that hangs around his neck.
He might help himself to Twinkies
and a glass of Coke,
a micro-waved pizza in front of the TV.

Struggling to raise his head
the circles under his eyes
slope toward his chin,
pick up the lines around his mouth
and carry it down as well.
It’s not easy taking care of the world!

Using the back of his hand
he trails snot and tears across his face
into his hair,
which heads out in all directions
as if just lifted from a pillow.
He looks neglected
like homework after a long weekend.
This boy ain’t been loved in a long time.
I want to walk over
kneel on both knees,
use my sleeve to clean his cheeks,
tie his sneakers.

He looks up
and in his eyes
I see my own son.
Unable to look away,
I want to say something
make some excuse
beg for forgiveness.
But, this is God.
What could I possibly say
he does not already know?