God slouches at the front of the universe
leaning against his desk, taking roll
with a red pen in his spiral book of life.
He teaches every subject himself,
every grade, every student. He leads
every parent conference appearing
as principal, department head, counselor,
and teacher. At night he walks the halls
alone with a broom and a trash can.
He’s not too grand to pick up
the wad of gum some kid mashed
onto a door frame. He’s not above
using divine elbow grease to scrub
away bathroom graffiti. Sometimes
he finds drawings of himself
cross-eyed with a caption,
“What a dork!” the picture of a fool.
But every morning he’s back
in the cafeteria, handing out
his own body for breakfast
with a pint of 2% milk—
or chocolate if you like.
He wears a Padres ball cap
to keep God hairs out of the food.
He runs the register, too,
though he never makes us pay.
“I’ll get this one,” he says—
and every time we wonder why
there’s a register at all? Why receipts?
When the bells ring, students rush to class
past God the hall monitor into the room
of Mr. God, the teacher. He greets us
by name wherever we are.
But only in his room do we find
a seat while he watches. God’s voice
crackles and pops over the PA
during announcements while God
lines up the hooligans in the hall
to assign tardy detentions.
I hold my breath when God walks
the aisles in his classroom collecting
our English themes like prayers.
Dear God, I pray, I pass.
From Barbies at Communion