Mervyn Taylor

March of the Children

There are many gods: god of sunlight,
god of the brook; god of night, god of rain;
god of the child who comes to see what I
am doing, god of the mother who cries,

Leave him alone! God in the sulfur of the
match, god in the ashes. God of the silence
who lets only the crickets chirp, god who
places antlers on the deer, god of ivory,

and of wood. Good gods, they all appear
when we pray, crowd outside our window,
gods of debate and argument and rhyme,
gods of fire less inclined to talk, lest they

cause conflagration among the others.
They are here in answer to our children’s
prayer, since it is not the usual call for a
toy, or sneakers, or for a boy to like me, or

for longer, thicker hair. God of mongoose
has stopped it from killing a snake, Anansi
has stopped telling stories and the schoolyard
Is empty as if everyone has a fever and the

god of islands has pushed them like desks all
together, so the children can copy from each
other the lesson On Disobedience, on when
our children are no longer ours, when they are

free to leave home in a dinghy and paddle till
all the boats are met in the Ocean of Plastics
and from there to proceed to the giant Oil
Spill and the ice that is melting like ice cream

while in our beds we are saying no it was
the other god we meant, the one who fixes
whatever we break the one who has no
designation but to see about fools god of

enigma god of folly god of cars that drive
themselves god of ducks crossing highways
have mercy on them on the children
from here to god knows where as they

feed us in our dotage wipe our mouths our
behinds our slates clear of wrong numbers
our money-god the last to come, who calls
for children to be put in cages, that ungod.