POETRY: The Man Who Couldn’t Believe by David Citino

The Man Who Couldn’t Believe by David Citino

He was the sort who entertained
doubts. Even in early childhood
when his mother would call out
“Your daddy’s home,” he’d look up

from toys that were nothing more
than toys and, with a smile
both knowing and superior,
shake his head from side to side.

When Sister Mary Appassionata asked
“Why did God make you?”
he looked her straight in the eye.
“Damned if I know,” he answered.

Even love was out of the question,
a series of motions out and in,
crescendo, diminuendo. “You’re no worse
than the last one, and I need it,”

he’d calmly plead. “I do. I do.”
It rained or shined on his parades
for meteorological reasons only.
Stars were there because they were.

Forget charmed quarks and neutrinos,
though he admitted that molecules
might exist. He could perceive
Brownian motion in the shudder

of maple leaf upon the river,
even though he suspected wind
as the rational explanation.
He found himself on earth

to consume and be consumed in turn,
to grow old and fill a hole
in some city ceremony. Afraid
of the unknown, the dark? No way.

He was all I. Heaven and hell
were this moment, this one, this.
He died as he lived, fearless
and alone. He didn’t have a prayer.

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