Maya C. Popa
In Buddhism, difficult people are thought to be a gift.
This explains why I’m not a Buddhist.
I love the glib, slick farce of hardheartedness,
though I’ve held my human head
in my human hands so it would not
succumb to language. It was earth that taught me
names for all the planets, how to look
at an angle for the hummingbird,
dark satellite of sugar in the blossom’s mouth.
I could picture that vast absence of us,
moons spinning coolly in unscripted pasts.
But when I try to imagine our president,
understanding imagination is the basis
of all faith, I suffocate on hatred’s loneliness.
I can’t stand the unity of my own hands,
how no part leads the writing of a word.
But this, too, is no faith that can be held,
scalds without tributary purpose. Like something
held to the light by its edges, I see the long years
ahead of me, full of voices of friends’
children’s children. I want a kind of betterness.
Want it desperately. Is that faith? While the days,
impatient, fresh beasts, appeal to me—
You are here now. You must believe in something.
MAYA C. POPA is the author of American Faith as well as two chapbooks, You Always Wished the Animals Would Leave and The Bees Have Been Cancelled (PBS Summer Choice). She is the recipient of awards from the Poetry Foundation, Oxford Poetry Society and Munster Literature Centre in Cork, Irleand, among others.
Maya C. Popa. ‘American Faith’ from American Faith. Copyright © 2019 by Maya C. Popa. Used with the permission of Sarabnde Books, Inc. sarabandebooks.org