To the God of Gas Station Bathrooms
To the God of the Cheapest Pregnancy Tests,
the God of Desperation and the Morning After,
the God of McDonald’s Dollar Menu, the God of Expired
Baked Goods, God of Uncleaned Tiles and Lifting,
Blackened Grout, God of Bleached and Hosed Walls.
To the God of Overdoses, the God of Narcan,
To the God who watches over the destitute
and derailed, the travelers and the forever
inert. To the God who revives
only a few. God of Cruel Judgment, God of Faulty
Rebirth. I have prayed to you the most,
God of the Gas Station Bathrooms I got high in,
and the ones I didn’t. I have prayed to you,
let someone knock before I break this bundle open,
I have prayed to you, let me pretend
this is a secret. I have prayed to you
for just one more, I have prayed to you
for never again. I have prayed to you,
let the drugs work tonight. I have prayed to you,
let me wake up to a new life. I have prayed to you,
let this bag be the one that kills me.
I think you want me to tell you I’m grateful
to have survived, but that wouldn’t be the whole truth.
The truth is, I don’t know why I’m still here.
There are days my body is heavy with shovelfuls of guilt.
It’s called Survivor’s Guilt for a reason. Why not Phil,
who taught me to be a sneakerhead,
why not Diane, why not Sean? Why not Debbie,
who told me my hair looked like cotton candy,
why not Mike, why not Matthew? Or Sam,
or Joe, or Angela? You know there are more
names, there will always be more names.
There are more names than I can remember.
There are names on the periphery of my memory,
names blurred together to form a litany.
There are names graffitied on your walls;
the prayers you never answered, their parents
weeping over their waxy bodies.
Am I supposed to be grateful for the funerals?
Am I supposed to feel saved?
Am I supposed to feel chosen?
Are you happy with your choices?
God of Fractured Light Leaking Under
the Peeling Door, sometimes I just want to get high.
Sometimes, I want to throw my life away
because I can’t even decide on a pair
of shoes and I can’t ask Phil. Sometimes,
luck feels like a burden, and sometimes
I don’t want to endure it. I want to feel
like I’m worth it. So, God of the Gutter,
who should I pray to now?
Miriam Kramer is a queer, Jewish poet residing in New Jersey with her partner and two cats. Her poetry has appeared in Spry Literary Journal, So to Speak Journal, FreezeRay Poetry, and others. She is the author of two chapbooks. Miriam has read poems to friends and strangers in many parking lots and established venues across the US.
© Variant Literature Inc 2023