God Has a Cousin

Looking through a pile of books in my study, I came across one I hadn’t looked at in a while – a book of short poems by Cynthia Rylant called God Went to Beauty School. The book consists of a number of short poems that describe God in very human terms. Some would doubtless find the poems a bit irreverent, but they convey God in very real terms and describe a very personal relationship with God.

There are two poems in the collection I particularly like, one of which is titled God Has a Cousin. I think part of the appeal for me is that it invites us to think differently about the extent of the rift between God and Lucifer. But I think part is just that, coming from a large family where family love always ultimately trumps conflict, I completely get “that’s the way it is with family.”

Lucy, or Lucifer,
if you want to be formal.
Everybody called him
Lucy growing up,
which accounts a lot
for how he turned out.
God’s not as made at him
as some people think.
You don’t become God
by holding grudges.
And besides,
Lucy taught Him
how to swing a bat,
though nobody wants
to hear about that.
Living in the same neighborhood,
hanging at the same places,
you get to feeling close,
you know?
Lucy’s one of the few people
left who remember
what it was like
In The Beginning.
Sure, God and he went
their separate ways,
but truth be known,
they’re always asking,
“How’s he doing?” and “How’s He doing?”
That’s the way it is
with family.
God’s still looking
for Lucy to move back.


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