Defying Nature

“Two adults,” I say and hand the woman
A twenty and a five. “Too much,” she says.  
“Mom, I’ve got something that I want to say.”
 I retrieve the five, nodding in thanks.
“I don’t believe in God,” he says too loudly.
The clerk freezes, the twenty in mid-air.
“OK,” I look at him.                                 
                                    “Do I get change?”
I ask the clerk who stares, holding the bill.
“Did you hear me, Mom?” his voice is thin.
“Yes, I did and said that it’s OK,”
 The line of patrons rustles behind us.
 Slowly, slowly the clerk hands me two dollars,
 And we walk through the turnstile.                                                   
                                                “Is that all?”
He says. “Just, OK?”                                                         
                                                “Yes, I think that’s all.”      
We stroll through the huge, hewn gem exhibit.
I study an amethyst and think it odd       
He chose the Natural History Museum
To tell me he does not believe in God.

—Susan Spear, Elisabeth CO