Dear God:

by Emily Crowell

Thank you for this fat,
mottled, gold-flecked gremlin-
kitty snoring at my feet,
who hasn’t yowled at the witching
hour for six – six! – wee mornings

in a row, who flickers her translucent
jealous-green eyes in my
direction, curls her pink paws
into tight fists when I sit up,
then chirps and reaches a lazy arm
to rest on my ankle.

Thank you for this long, gaudy,
36-year-old picture window, and for the naked
gray trees on the other side, limbs
a-splay, waving at nothing, crowns
craning toward the sky,
looking for the long-absent sun.
Do they know their cousins
just down the mountain
are beginning to bud?

Thank you
for the five colorful shelves,
divided into three sections,
of whiskey and merlot,
for the mini-fridges holding
beer and chardonnay (or day wine,
as I used to reason),
within three arms-lengths
of where I now sit,
drinking water with no ice,
eating Punjabi chole with fresh,
slightly burnt, naan. Thank you
for that bottle
of Wild Turkey Rye, nestled
to the very left of the middle top shelf,
the sight of which inspires
bile to warm my throat –
my body remembers.
How many times did I
trudge the long path to that same
bottle at the back of the ABC store –

waiting for me toward the right
of the second to the top shelf,
two-thirds of the way
to the left side of the store –
hoping that no one would notice
I was back again already,
making eye contact with nothing
but the keypad on the card reader.

Thank you for this man
sitting beside me, eating vegetable vindaloo
(one of the spiciest dishes on the menu),
who was never a bar drinker,
who is cracking a joke
about how they don’t have his
ten-dollar-a-gallon vodka
among their enticements.

Thank you
for what is given and
what is taken away.

Dear God:
Thank you for keeping me sober
so far.

Dear God:
Please keep me sober

Emily Crowell lives in Canton, North Carolina, with her two cats, Lola and Clementine, and her boyfriend. She had not written poetry in years before taking the Great Smokies class, In the Beginning.

About Dear God:—This poem is the result of an assignment to create a work centered around prayer.