My Eyes Are Watching God


That I might have God again, that I might know him, that I might make him my own. That I might pull him into my center and grow the magic bean of him in my belly. I have sprouted a God head, I have birthed a fire. I am lifting him toward heaven, lifting his broken spine and backward arms up to the clouds. A million birds peck him apart, flying him in every direction all at once so that everywhere all the babies are full of God and the God in my belly issues forth into a golden age of Gods, so full the universe is of us, Gods every one.

Last night God laid a coal on my tongue. I swallowed it and melted into a river that created all the watery parts of the world and the salt from my brow dripped into the ocean and turned it briny green-blue full of fishes. My hair sent rhizoids into the flesh of the earth and stirred up worms and windmills and china shops. A great city arose from my throat, spreading down the length of sand. I am sweeping across the veil of the hidden woman, the woman with a nameless baby in a basket. She sets him afloat down the river that flows along my thighs. I am heavy with child. God is battering me senseless, oh God most high, most heavenly God, how lowly Mary lays her child.

In me there are many houses. In me there are many doors with glittering knobs. Around my waist is a cord full of keys. I am the Mother Superior, I will shepherd this flock. I will bend them to the kneeling benches and tie thorns to their chests. I will fill their mouths with joyful chants that break the days into equal parts. At midnight the stars are full and everywhere there is silence in my heart of hearts. God is cracking me open. God is breaking every bone of me and I am full of words and jelly and black-toed boots.


This God is my father. His beard is full of ice crystals. He smells like an outdoor sweat and ties scarves around his neck. Sometimes he gives me quarters for candy. Sometimes he buys me new shoes. He doubles me on his bicycle, all the way to heaven, huffing up the long hills, breathing great gasps of air and blowing me back to the beginning of time, to the first day when God offered me up to the moon, tied blue ribbons in my hair and called me daughter.

Sometimes my head is larger than God. Sometimes the universe fits under my tongue. Nights I toss and turn with an infinite brain, snapping and popping and everywhere God bursts into flames, crackling with fat over the fire. I have poked a stick into him. He is crusty brown and good for sandwiches. The glistening oil of him anoints my head. My cup runneth over into the next county where the boys carry knives on the school bus and the girls are full of cheap lipstick and Love’s Baby Soft. I have never been on a date. I have never kissed a boy. My time is not complete so I wait and wait. Someone French braids my hair. Someone smoothes on the blush. I am a wallflower in bell-bottom jeans and a blue T-shirt, my mouth full of prayers, words flowing from my lips, seeking God in the Friday night dance.

I have married the night. My husband has dark eyes and gentle hands. He cooks vegetable stew and lays cool cloths on my head when I burn with fever. He holds my knees steady while I push his sons and daughters into the world. Our children are full of halos and miracles. They ride silver scooters to grammar school. They carry Donald Duck lunchboxes full of cream cakes and potato chips. They grow up in the ways of goodness and give birth to gods, our grandchildren circling around our knees for Sunday dinner, the palace full of laughing and purple hula hoops, and bubbles, pink bubbles everywhere.

Yesterday I found God in a bush, hiding beneath the branches. He needed a haircut. He needed a shave. I took him to my house and hosed him down, got out the straight razor and stroked him smooth. He sat down with me and we talked literature and politics, how the right and the left strain toward each other, how his yin wanted my yang, how a black thing grew and spread across the sky, sucking up trains and cars and whole cities. The black thing beats its hairy wings against the faces of school children. It stirs up the ocean with its horny claws. But God swept me away from that place, set me in a golden swing on the outskirts of his kingdom. He set an angel to pushing me higher and higher, and that’s how I came to live in the sun, how I grew so bright and dropped from a lemon tree and onto ground as green as the third day of plants and grasses, and pretty soon the animals came and rooted up the earth and someone zested me for a spinach salad with oranges and walnuts, and the world unfolded and God set me in motion, pulled me from my mother and breathed a big breath of air into me and out of the mouths of babes he comes, and out of the wilderness he calls to us, and out of the dark he seeks us, every one.


Rumpus original art by Clare Nauman.

Rebecca Cook writes poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction and was a Margaret Bridgman Scholar in Fiction at the 2009 Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. Her essay, “Flame,” was a notable essay in the 2013 Best American Essays. She has published widely, most recently in The Rumpus, Georgia Review, Pank, Plume, Southeast Review, Sliver of Stone, Antioch Review, and Atticus Review. Her chapbook of poems, The Terrible Baby, is available from Dancing Girl Press. Her book of poems, I Will Not Give Over, was published in November, 2013, by Aldrich press. More from this author →