something extraordinary happened?
—not to me personally, but something
large and important for us all,
like the return of our smarter ancestors,
the ones who migrated, eons ago,
to an alternate universe, where they
sat around their sleek uncomplicated quarters
and watched us fuck up our lives until
they knew they had to come back to earth
because we weren’t going to make it on our own.
That’s one way of thinking about salvation.
But those wise aliens never look much different
from the mean ones who are planning
on wiping us out, in which case our story
is all about triumphant battles or pure dumb luck
and isn’t that too much like the world
we’re stuck in already?
Then there’s God, who still understands
we want to be told what to do
even when we say we can’t bear it anymore.
It’s June. The window’s open. Outside
in the dark a few frogs have started
calling to each other, back and forth
in a design as clear
and symmetrical as any fairy tale.
I want the ending where I’m tucked into bed.
I want God to set his glass of water
on my nightstand, and when he steps away
leave the light on in the hall
until I close my eyes and sleep takes over.
Lawrence Raab is the author of seven poetry collections, including What We Don’t Know About Each Other, winner of the National Poetry Series, and a finalist for the National Book Award, The Probable World, Visible Signs: New and Selected Poems, and his latest collection, The History of Forgetting, all published by Penguin. He teaches literature and writing at Williams College.