She wants to know
if I could be an animal
which would I choose.
Part of me wants to answer panther –
sleek, black, catlike eyes
glowing in the night –
but never coyote, crawling out
of the hills in search of rabbits
darting through the sage,
never the trickster.

I am an animal, I remind her,
we all are, just a bit smarter than most.
She laughs and says that
I really wanted to be a god
since I had the image part down.
I say I’d thought of that
but as a human animal
I get two days off a week
and God, according to Genesis
gets only one, and
he probably spends it
watching football in New Orleans.

She says she would rather be
a dragon or a fox, since Shinto gods
have far less work to do
and generally sit around
being simply venerated.
I close my book, listen
to the rain pelting the windows,
watch the bolt
across the face of the clouds
and listen for the peel of thunder –
Thor is not happy again.


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