Devotional Smoke

by Elton Glaser

I’m praying again
To a God I don’t believe in.
I’m lighting candles like little spaceships
That will carry my pleas and complaints
To the black hole of heaven.

O Lord who does not exist,
I have read all the books about You,
Pages thick with miracles and fools,
All those inbred begats that bring us down
From a mountaintop of stone laws
To the bloody sands of sacrifice.

Is this prayer another echo
Inside my skull, ricochet
From a spent belief ? I speak to You
With my mouth shut,
Ventriloquist of the slippery voice.

I expect no answer, not even
A cryptic fiction that will keep
The priests and professors busy a thousand years.

Sometimes, like a blind man in a bare room,
Hands at halfmast, feet in a slow shuffle,
I need to teach myself again
There’s nothing out there in the dark.