by Amy J.
“[H]ell is for those who dream in flight.” This is how Rogando ushers us into mythic, biblical word of “Poem In Which I Do Not Love God”: a speaker grasping to remember the passing wisdom of a you who is either a Lover who is Not God or a God who is Not Beloved, or both. You must be some kind of god, what with their command of celestial bodies, their authority to baptize, to declare themselves & our speaker lovers & have it writ. All the while, our speaker gazes up at you from a place of begrudged supplication, robbed—as so many of us raised young in the faith—of the “choice to convert.”
Rogando’s You is an unlovely God: a lover who commands, who belittles our speaker as one who “cannot comprehend light” without their aid, who tells our speaker when the earth will shake & whose violence shakes it so. Yet our speaker broils with a violence of their own; laments, “i wish i shook with godhood / how i wish i tore your foundation like body to bread.”
But the tools of our speaker are not teeth or scripture or spear—the tools of our speaker are flight & pretend. By the logic of Hell as a place for dreamers, to sin is to dream is to fly, & by the end of the poem, our speaker has taken wing. Our speaker gains dominion over the God who is Not Loved not by returning abuse, but by leaving. By ascending. By forgetting, until you wastes to nothing but “a word worn into froth . . . / a shapeless cloud / a petal drifting on light.”