by Suzanne O’Connell

I didn’t pray to get things off my chest.
I prayed to get results.

Dear Deep Pockets Jesus, I prayed.
Please fill up my empty meat with
golden sunlight.
Please make one of the Calderone brothers
like me. I’d prefer Chris, but Phil would be okay.
Please turn my hair blonde and straight.
Please let me pass arithmetic.
When will I get breasts?
I am waiting.
Will you please hurry!

Jesus was so wise. He was my brainy Heart Throb.
I drew pictures for him
and hid them behind my dresser.
The pictures were mostly of him on the cross
with the stabbed chest, thorns and nails.
I wanted him to know we were a team,
and if he was suffering, I was too.
He never said thanks.
He never said anything.

Dear Honeycomb Jesus,
can you make me rich?
And can you stop all the arguing
in this house?
Can you make my sister run away?
Please let me live at grandma’s.

Dear Glazed Donut Jesus,
You never answer me!
I am your biggest fan!
I am waiting to hear from you.
Please send me a letter
or your autograph
or some other sign.

I was at Chung King Lucky Noodle
when I finally got my answer.
My fortune cookie said:

Let’s be fair. That was harsh.
I had to do this all by myself?
It took a while for this to sink in.
It took even longer for me to heal
from my breakup with Bad Boy Jesus.
But eventually,
I threw away all of my drawings of him,
and the love letters.
And I never went back to church again.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem was written about a young girl who prays that her life will change. She is shocked to realize that she has to participate in making the changes she seeks.

IMAGE: “Corazon de Jesus” by William Franco, Bogota, Colombia. Learn more at behance.net.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Suzanne O’Connell lives in Los Angeles, where she is a poet and a clinical social worker. Her work can be found in Forge, Atlanta Review, Blue Lake Review, G.W. Review, Reed Magazine, Permafrost, Mas Tequila Review, The Round, The Griffin, Sanskrit, Foliate Oak, Talking River, Organs of Vision and Speech Literary Magazine, Willow Review, The Tower Journal, Thin Air Magazine, The Manhattanville Review, poeticdiversity, The Evansville Review, Serving House Journal, Silver Birch Press, Schuylkill Valley Journal, and Licking River Review. She was a recipient of Willow Review’s annual award for 2014 for her poem “Purple Summers.” She is a member of Jack Grapes’ L.A. Poets and Writers Collective.