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Recorded for Poem-a-Day, April 11, 2018.
About this Poem 

“My forthcoming book of poems, Master Suffering, contains a series of poems titled ‘God Letter,’ which I’ve written in order to interrogate the intersections of ordinary incidents and traumatic experiences with religion and spirituality. This ‘God Letter’ demonstrates my personal inability to sustain faith following the death of my younger sister. I composed the poem with some difficulty and rendered it in absolute truth.”
—CM Burroughs

God Letter

Everybody is doing trigger warnings now, so
To Whom It May Concern, I hated God
when my sister died. I didn’t know it was
coming, but we were at the hospital in a private
room for family, and our pastor
was there, the one who baptized me, and 
he said Let us pray, and I kept my eyes
open to watch everybody, but
listened, and when he said Sometimes
God has to take back his angels,
I was smart enough to know, I was 14, that
he was saying she was gone or going
and I loathed him so much, he didn’t see
the look on my face, that blazing anger
blank heart f-you-forever look, but then
my parents told us we were going to
take her off life support, and I died then,
and after they took away the machines we had
solitude, family time the five of us, mom,
dad, me, my brother, and my sister. Holding her
body she was warm she wasn’t conscious
but she could hear us I know it, then they
opened the door for other family to 
say goodbye and I was hugging her back
in her bed, my face against her face, my tears
wetting her cheek it was flush and her wavy
hair, I wanted to hold her forever I was
hurting but felt selfish like other people
wanted to say goodbye too so I let go,
and her head kind of tilted to the side and
I straightened it so I was a mess then
goodbye goodbye we left there to clean
the house for mourners to come.

Copyright © 2018 by CM Burroughs. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 11, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2018 by CM Burroughs. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 11, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

CM Burroughs

CM Burroughs

CM Burroughs is the author of The Vital System (Tupelo Press, 2012).