God, He Made You This Way

My father prays for children who aren’t so smart
and emails to let us know we are: too smart
for Jesus—God!—too smart for love.

Ever since the seizure, the cloudy x-ray
clipped to the light box, ever since the surgery
(not as successful as we had hoped),
and the chemo—twenty-one days on,
seven off—he wants:
                                    a wedding, a grandchild,
                                    a second drink—three
                                    fingers of bourbon on ice.
Instead:
                  his mother calls from her hospital bed,
                  thinks she’s in Augusta, that her dog
                  has run away,
                                    and I want to tell him
                  that his brain’s a thoughtful organ
                  to eat itself before time can. But I have

his shoulders—round and tilted to the wind—
his golf ball cheekbones, furrowed brow.

What else? I swear, I feel my own hard tumor
growing slow against my temple. Today, I thought
I was going blind. Tomorrow, I might pray.

                  But if I say Thank God, I mean Don’t let us die;
                  if I say I love, I mean Save me.
      
      
      

Anna B. Sutton's work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Third Coast, Quarterly West, DIAGRAM, Barrow Street, Superstition Review, Pinch, Tar River Poetry, Weave, and other journals. In 2013, she received a James Merrill fellowship from Vermont Studio Center.