False Idols

“Every few months we thin
the coffers in our temples.”
Arguments with destiny: 12 by Luisa A. Igloria

We worship the god
of self-improvement plans, that idol
made of the gold of all our hopes
for lives changed
by exercising more, losing weight,
adding this, subtracting
that, these plans cost.

We thin our coffers
at the temples of our false
gods. Instead of potluck
suppers, we go to one more workout or work
late in our fluorescent offices.

We have banished
the other prophets who declared
a different gospel of improving
ourselves by purifying our souls.
Let those prophets preach
to the wind-scoured landscapes.
Let them eat locusts for lunch.
We shall dine on food cultivated organically,
We shall drink wines made with grapes
grown in a far away soil.

Only late at night, our electronics
silenced, do we hear
that still, small voice
that declares all of creation
to be good and very good,
perfection inherent in our beings,
that small flickering pilot light of grace.

Kristin Berkey-Abbott has published two chapbooks: Whistling Past the Graveyard (Pudding House Publications) and I Stand Here Shredding Documents (Finishing Line Press). She oversees the department of General Education at the Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale and she teaches as an adjunct at both Broward College and City College. She writes regularly about books, creativity, poetry, and modern life at her creativity blog, and she explores a variety of spiritual issues at her theology blog. Her website gives more information about her writing and her academic career.

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