“To Build a Mother Who Stands like a House” by Cassidy Lewis

Cassidy Lewis (age 15)


Love your neighbor as yourself.
—Galatians 5:14

I think if God and I lived in a house together, we’d never
really sleep. Because I would want to ask a thousand
questions and God would want to listen, droopy eyed
in the corner of my bedroom, head tilted to the side
to make like He was drifting off. Eating fruit from Eve’s
tree to stay awake, floating on a hammock of clouds,
hands tucked together, like the house He’s built for us
is Heaven. But if you and God lived in a house,

it would be constructed by Solomon and Isaiah and Josh,
written onto the street as if it was the books of the Old
Testament, and you’d keep the doors shut because nobody
should come inside. I think the two of you would eat supper
together in the dining room and God would storytell
about Heaven. About how it breathes, the way it opens
and closes like the wings on and off of an Angel’s back.
You are my mother but the night you introduced me

to Jesus, I met His eyes and the words felt wrong. I imagine
God as a hotel. As the different suites He could be, the furniture.
As the little yellow lights that reflect off balcony windows
during the night time. Think of Him as the swimming pool,
as the water, the tile. Bath linen, bed. Imagine Him as the wood
of a reception desk, as the receptionist. A keycard held in each palm
to hand to His guests. I’d like to see this God. Like to touch
Him how you touch the silver crucifix of Jesus hanging

above my nightstand. His hips curled in, lean. Hold Him
while you preach to me about love and hate and all the things
that fill us. The things that curate sin. Pride, envy, anger.
This is where I write we disagree. Because while your door
may close for the people you dislike in God’s name, His will
remain open. Yours is steeled shut, and His is revolving,
and mine is thin and transparent like glass. I sit in Church
and look at God standing on the stage by the pastor. A reminder
that He sees and loves everybody. That He too doesn’t want

closed-mindedness in our religion. And maybe you don’t see God
but His shadow, where it slips behind the stage curtains to hide.
Less God and more silhouette. I think He wouldn’t buy a house,
but build one. And it’d be made the same way He is. Bare footed,
sheet wrapped from shoulders to hips. Tall, head peeking down
at the two of us from His home up in Heaven. A knowing smile
growing from His thin lips. Pull off the road, I know that you’re tired.
Come to the hotel, there’s a room for you waiting.

from 2020 Rattle Young Poets Anthology


Why do you like to write poetry?

Cassidy Lewis: “To me, poetry is a way to use my head as an outlet for expression—inside I’ve always been able to find words and images that can be blended together to describe almost anything. Not only feelings I’ve experienced, but things I’ve seen and experienced, even the most mundane, can be poetic in different ways. Through poetry, I can look into others’ heads too, and for a moment, see the world through a pair of eyes different from my own.”

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