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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 5: October 2020
Poem: 172 words [R]
By Richard Cole

The Silence of God


Or maybe He never shuts up. 
You tell me. 

Think of supernovas and the blind 
seed cracked open, ecstatic 
with moisture, the utter generosity 
of something 
rather than nothing. 

And here come the penguins. 
Is that silence? In what language? 

It’s like this—
every morning God lifts 
the nuclear sun in His bare hands 
and remakes the world instant by instant 
and not once does He say 
“you owe me.” 

Darwin raised his doubts. Could a caterpillar 
eaten alive from the inside out 
by the larvae of a parasitic 
wasp be the art of God’s love? The very idea...
And yes, the God of hurricanes 
and stillborns, our Lord of disease 
and life-giving death. 

We recognize His touch, His wicked 
humor and His tenderness, 
all of us 
His masterpieces, 
no choice and no exceptions. 

So I ask God, “Am I making You up?” 
And He speaks to me. “Honey, 
of course you are.” 

The true, the original work 
comes out of the blue 
and God is the blue.



—Published previously in The Windhover (Volume 19, Spring 2015); appears here with poet’s permission

Richard Cole
Issue 5, October 2020

is the author of two books of poetry: The Glass Children (The University of Georgia Press) and Success Stories (Limestone Books). He is also the author of a memoir, Catholic by Choice (Loyola Press). His poems and essays have been published in The New Yorker, Poetry, Hudson Review, Sun Magazine, Barrow Street, Diode, The American Journal of Poetry, Ruminate, Dappled Things, Image Journal, and various anthologies. Honors include an NEA fellowship and a Bush Foundation grant. Cole works as a painter and business writer in Austin, Texas.

More at: www.richard-cole.net

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