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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Religion and Spirituality  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: September 20, 2018

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Submitted: September 20, 2018





My mother once asked me

why I don’t capitalize god when I spell it. 

I told her I didn’t think I’d be punished for it.
I expected a laugh but she was hurt instead. 

If you saw my room when I was 12 years old

you’d ask why I have so many crosses above my bed 

if I don’t believe in god. 

I’d tell you I was given so many

I didn’t know what else to do with them.

In catholic middle school, on a dare, out of boredom

I learned how to recite our father backwards.

My religion teacher caught me,

saying it was a sin to mock a prayer.

I asked if it was a sin to think it might work.

That after so many hail mary’s and hallelujahs,

can I wake god of his slumber if I try something new? 

Can this heartbeat choir sing loud enough to make him want to dance?

If I fall asleep in church will I dream of him?

I think the problem with religion class

is that I learned more about the commandments

than I did about myself.


 My sister once asked me what I believe in,

I told her meditation.

I told her the chakras and the energy flowing through me.

I told her the idea of balance and chaos.

And how they are more alike than they are different.


She said, “I think 

we believe in the same thing.

You call it energy and I call it god. And if we’re talking about 

the same thing 

why don’t you just 

call that energy god and

come to church with us again?”


I said, “Are you any closer to calling yourself agnostic

than I am to calling myself Christian?

Are you any closer to forsaking your beliefs for mine?

Is your god so adamant I speak his name?”


I feel like every time I call on god 

it just goes straight to voicemail.


I feel like every voicemail sounds like, 

“Buddha. Zeus. Allah. Shiva. Anubis. Jesus. Holy Spirit.

Whoever you are. Whoever it may concern.

At then of the day,

I’ve tried to live a life my mom can be proud of.

I hope you see more of the good than bad.

I hope the scales tip in my favor.

Please see me not by the number of times I got my siblings in trouble.

Please see me not by the number of times I was snoring louder than the sermon. 

Please see me not by the number of times I said I love you and did not mean it.

Please see me for the number of times I could not see the light so I tried to be one.

I will leave this life having answered all my own prayers.


When my time comes, and my life flashes before my eyes, 

let me see it in reverse.

So that every heartbreak 

turns back into love. 

So that my father would return.

So that I could unlearn how to walk, and every exhausting step is replaced

by my mother’s eternal embrace.”

© Copyright 2018 Miguel-Salcedo. All rights reserved.

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