When I say God, maybe I mean a being in between. A sky of couple-color. My God-thought a too-tight swimsuit, an extra small rubber band I’ve stretched. Am stretching. If I’m to hold this relic in my soul, I want it Infinity-Big. Room for billions of arms, hearts, backbones, buttocks, livers, legs, torsos, metatarsals, penises, pancreases, breasts, breaths. All the spinal cords & scapulas & hymens & thyroids & sacra. Patella, nerve, node. Clavicle, mandible, pharynx, larynx. Ribcage splayed with lungs at peak load. Fecund & fatherfull. Monstrous & motherous.
In a Hindu creation tale, an altar where I kneel: Brahma split one Self— herself and himself— mating themselves to birth all of it: Skewbald stars. Marled dark. Brinded cows. Trout. Chestnut falls. Finches’ wings. Beaches spackled with sequin-sand. Landscape quilted. Gear & tackle & trim. God as adazzle and dim, a dappled thing, fluid like water, like wind. Like this marbled world. God as snail trailing galaxies, home-hauling. God as tree: bloom-bright- breeze-pollinating. They parent-forth in coupled beauty, two hemispheres fused in One Wisdom: Praise them.
God the Mother Speaks of Matriphagy
I have set before you likenesses
desert spider crab spider lace-weaver
the mother drums her web: I am here I am here I am or the mother fills with food-eggs too big to leave her body or the mother liquifies and her clutch eats her alive
this I will do for you have done am doing will do
faster, those young quick to molt, to bulk and prey less likely to cannibalize siblings
what is milk but a way to mother-eat, draining even her bones in my belly basket, what will sustain you in my wineskins,
enough to fill your hollows
beloved spiderlings, if you find yourselves wild with hunger, born to barren, I will feed you my body’s bread my body’s flood
of white fire of good burn
go on take, swallow, & devour me
God the Mother Speaks of Agency
Sometimes, children, you choose inuksuit. White flags. A firepit and guitar pick.
You nurse a baby bat with a syringe, drip apple juice on its pink tongue.
Other times you choose elephant tusks, abandon the grey husk and hulking bones.
You are the tops I set spinning, knowing you down to your cells, knowing about ledges,
centripetal force, friction. All-knowing is not foreknowing.
I halve that apple, dig out with my knife’s point arsenic seeds.
You’ve painted my friend, Satan, globe-trotter, with a palette of black and smoke. Why
do you love the taste of blame, little dodgers, little finger pointers.
You are the tops I spin, knowing every groove in the grain.
Once in a while, you choose a cup of sun. An ounce of soap. A thread of good.
Your agency is the leash I live by. Sometimes, I gnaw at my restraint.
Sometimes, I sew my eyes shut.
-- Dayna Patterson is the author of Titania in Yellow (Porkbelly Press, 2019) and If Mother Braids a Waterfall (Signature Books, 2020). Her creative work has appeared recently in Carolina Quarterly, Duende, EcoTheo, and Gulf Coast. She is the founding editor-in-chief of Psaltery & Lyre and a co-editor of Dove Song: Heavenly Mother in Mormon Poetry. She was a co-winner of the 2019 #DignityNotDetention Poetry Prize judged by Ilya Kaminsky. daynapatterson.com