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Why I Didn’t See God 2010

Janet Kuypers
(poetry converted to prose)

    I would be walking home from school, and the next thing I’d know is that I was flying an airplane again. The weather was really awful this time and I had to take a terrible turn to try to get through this air maze. I could feel the controls shaking in my hands, but before I had a chance to land I would be walking again, almost at my friend’s house. Same clothes, no school books. And I’d wonder how I got there. And where was that plane.
    I remember walking through the fields behind my parent’s house, and seeing a missile flying through the sky. I stood and watched as the missile landed across the field, and the mushroom cloud from the nuclear explosion started to rise. I just watched in amazement as I could feel the shock wave race through the field, push through my body before I felt the first wave of heat rip through me. I can’t remember seeing the foliage burning, but I remember feeling my skin burn. Looking down at my hands I’d feel my skin singe and start to disintegrate. And the sickly sweet smell, I couldn’t shake it till I finally closed my eyes
    I opened my eyes and my friends were in the field with me. I didn’t know why they were all looking at me, till I looked down and saw the ball in my hand and knew they were waiting for me to pitch the ball.
    I was medicated for years and couldn’t even get my driver’s license right away because of seizures.
    But I could smell my skin from the nuclear blast, feel the shake from the plane controls course up my arms.
    I watched the nuclear blast.
    I felt my plane nose dive.
    I knew they happened.
    And the doctors would ask me if I hear voices in my head or if I’d hear someone calling my name.
    And the answer was yes.
    But things have changed since then... The doctors deduced that I wasn’t schizophrenic, I didn’t have a psychological disorder (I guess that’s their way of saying I’m sane)... And I no longer got those hallucinations
    But recently, learning from a philosophy book discussing visions the saints saw (I always thought they were hallucinations of those who fasted for weeks but were allowed to drink only beer), but this book credited a number of scientists who hypothesized that these saintly visions were products of temporal lobe seizures.
    Many small seizures.
    I was an altar boy. I was thinking of becoming a priest. And I think of these visions that preceded men’s sainthood. I think of my memories of brushes with death.
    It just makes me wonder in all of my memories, why I didn’t see God.

Chicago poet Janet Kuypers
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