applying for heaven
is cold and bright
and smells like metal.
g-d’s butler will have you sit down at a crappy plastic desk
and hand you a scantron
and a number two pencil.
there will be at least a thousand other people in that same room
but nobody can talk.
(grounds for dismissal!)
the pencil will break at least three times
and three times the butler is going to hand you a new one.
there is no sharpener here.
there is just infinity.
(who ate the last fucking sandwich?)
and just like back in school
as soon as the first person gets up to hand in their test
you will begin to panic.
your test is not be like the biology tests you failed in college
or the driver’s test you had to do twice.
(or even the pregnancy test your girlfriend took senior year.)
g-d will have you answer questions about what you have done
and a notice on the blackboard says that only mary has passed.
you would sweat
but the ac’s on too high.
question six is about how many hangovers you’ve had
and you’re going to want to scream
after you finish counting off on your fingers.
the essay is about the time your grandmother choked on rice
and you did nothing to help her,
while the text analysis is on your doctoral dissertation.
(you only proofread it once.)
the butler tells you your time is up.
but he’ll take the papers anyway
and walk you to the door.
(it’s warmer outside,
will come with your results
a few minutes
(or hours? or days?)
she will look like your mother.
you have passed the test with a solid 80
scratched in red pen in the top corner
with a line slashed out under it
(is it a good or bad line?)
and the lady escorts you into another room
where a sign hangs
WE ARE ALL EQUAL BEFORE GOD.
it’s much brighter in there,
that you have to squint until your eyes adjust.
(it’s all-white too.
what the hell?)
the room is massive
ceiling soaring high into the heavens
(unless that’s where you are now)
and hundreds of people fill the space
voices low and high echoing like the unironic cherubs
painted on the ceiling.
(except their wings are actually moving.)
the lady will guide you by the arm to the end of the room
where g-d is sitting
hands on the armrests like abe lincoln
and a face like zac efron.
(you always thought g-d had a beard
g-d’s voice is like a clementine
sweet and alluring
but there’s a sharpness to it that makes you afraid to speak.
‘your scores are impressive,’
he will say.
(he says that to everyone who passes.)
‘but of course,
the interview is just as important
and i wouldn’t say you did so well on that.’
you won’t remember when you did the interview
and you will say so
but that does not change anything.
g-d waves you away
and you are left to wander among the others in the room.
in the minutes
(or hours? or days?)
you will hear stories from at least a dozen people
as well as several complaints about how they deserved to move on.
mark only threw salt over his shoulder once
rebecca prayed daily
and ariel didn’t think it was that bad to change
after being born an asher.
no one will tell you what it means to move on.
(you are expected to know this information.)
g-d will get up and wish everyone a good night.
and when the lights go out
and the voices start to stop
you think back to that sign outside the door.
(we are all equal before g-d.)