Laying out the seed

Mary Panke
Featured image: Nashville, 2018 © Adam Jon Miller 2019

God knocks on the red door in my head and calls, Mary! Mary! I need to talk! I might be making dinner or watering the roses or editing a poem, but of course, I stop what I’m doing, because for as long as I can remember I’ve been a sounding board for god. I mean, he listens to everyone’s troubles all day long. Who is going to listen to his? I wouldn’t probably, if I’d given birth to him, but a mother is a mother is a mother and sometimes a little distance helps and sometimes her son’s burdens are her own. When god calls I say, Okay. I’m here. What is it? And first he points out all the things I’m failing at – cleaning up my language, judging others, discipline in prayer. And I try not to defend myself, because look – he’s god, he makes the rules – but sometimes I want to say, Hey Sonny! Everything I do is a prayer, from sweeping the leaves off the walk, to laying out seed for the titmice, to putting my head on the pillow at night. What more do you want? But I don’t say that, I say, Yes, Father. Please forgive me. And when I’m fully full of humility he leans back, puts his feet up, pops open a can of Schlitz and tells me about the state of the oceans, how humans are clogging them with tiny bits of plastic and how disappointing to see what we are doing to our planet. I know god, I see it too. No one ever really appreciates their mother. And then I hold out a bit of warm cornbread with fresh butter and he sets down his beer and he eats it, right out of my hand.