The Small God of Things



I looked into the eye
of the dying groundhog
barely moving, afraid
alone. I looked deeply
into his eye and saw
a world of life and worth
of every living
thing, and then I could see
the universe vast, void
since before time began

I realized that god
the god of religion
was so much tinier
than the groundhogs’ pupil
having been made smaller
by religion, smaller
and smaller, and denser
until god was reduced
by winning elections,
choosing both sides in wars,
helping to make touchdowns,
someone to find their keys,
make a hefty profit.

God is too small, too dense,
too busy being used
by those with selfish greed
to begin to contain
the pain, the loneliness
the entire universe
that I saw in the eye
of that dying groundhog.


Raymond P. Hammond is the editor-in-chief of both The New York Quarterly and NYQ Books. He holds an MA in English Literature from New York University and is the author of Poetic Amusement, a book of literary criticism. He lives near Scranton, PA with his wife, the poet Amanda J. Bradley, and their dog, Hank.

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