Encounter – a poem by Mary Ford Neal


I met god last night on the 38
and I had always understood that god was omniscient
but he had no idea who he was. 
When I asked him why he placed the stars
in their particular patterns, he looked at me
the way you might look at someone
who’s holding a knife. I wasn’t holding a knife.
When I asked him why he permitted war and famine
and heartbreak and disease and greed 
he moved to another seat. When I asked him
if my gentle grandmother who smelled like lilacs
was really waiting for me in the afterlife
he pressed the bell and the bus jolted to a halt.
As he shuffled down the aisle and hopped off
with a glance behind to be sure I wasn’t following
I called after him: That’s me and you finished, god

and god looked relieved.

Mary Ford Neal is a writer and academic from the West of Scotland. Her poetry is published widely in magazines and she is the author of two poetry collections: Dawning (Indigo Dreams, 2021) and Relativism (Taproot Press, 2022). Mary is assistant editor of 192 magazine and Nine Pens Press.


  1. Congrats! I shared it on my blog!


  2. Carl Mayfield says:

    Great poem, the last line zaps everything into place.

    Liked by 1 person

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