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Published: Wed Dec 12 2018
Diego Isaias Hernández Méndez, Convertiendse en Characoteles / Sorcerers Changing into Their Animal Forms (detail), 2013, oil on canvas. Arte Maya Tz’utujil Collection.

But what if I don’t believe in God, my daughter says.
She’s six and counts the days. God or no god,
molten pupae hang in their mermaid tails
in the man-made mesh globe in her bedroom. And she asks,

What is religion? It’s a Sunday morning, Superbowl Sunday.
I say: Religion is a house, a garden, the underside
of the Casey Overpass near where we live, in a behemoth
that swallows bats whole.

At school, the kids say not to say God,
she says. They say when you say
Oh, God!
you’re being rude.

So we seal the pockets around the pocket doors,
where the baby bats get lost when they drop, where
my girl, feet first, upside down, dances right side up,
and the cat cannot stop the annual nesting of opossum

under the front-porch floorboards.
When the lights go out at the Superdome,
we don’t watch.
Our team lost weeks ago.

They say “big as a house,”
but in my case they meant a house pregnant
with another house—a boarding house inside a flop house
with stained glass popped out in three places

and a pass-through that passes through
into a godless kitchen.

Reyna Clancy’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Nimrod, where she’s a finalist for the 2018 Francine Ringold Award for New Writers, and New South, where she placed third in the 2018 New South Writing Contest. Her poetry has also been shortlisted for The Disquiet Prize and selected as quarter-finalist for The Pablo Neruda Prize and finalist for the Four Way Books Levis Prize. (updated 12/2018)

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