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Paradise in Miniature

That’s what Julia once called our neighborhood, half-joking. 
We sit in the air-conditioned Starbucks 
and she says, heaven is a place on Earth, 
Starbucks is a place on Earth, 
and I finish her sentence: 
so Heaven is Starbucks. 
Now we’re laughing,
of course ironic about neoliberal bliss 
but there’s a part of us that means it, 
wants to languish in these comfy chairs forever. 
Julia recounts to me the story of Job, 
all that was given and taken away by God. 
We talk about her gamer ex-boyfriend 
who is wasting his brief store of potential. 
She ended things and misses him. 
We are both so greedy, 
I tell her on the park bench now, 
devouring cold peanut noodles from the to-go container. 
We hear an organ from the church service, 
priest’s deep voice, body of wafer, 
blood of wine. We rush to the door and peer in, 
noses pressed to the stained glass, 
anthropologists of this neighborhood and its ambient humidity. 
We hold each other’s hands and wait to ascend, 
to be let in, knowing we’re Jewish and we’re stoned 
and we won’t, we fucking won’t.
Illustration by Charlotte Rica
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