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Searching for God -- poetry by Anna Popnikolova

Now I’m stuck searching for God on the bus home,

The sun, thick on the windows, soaks through the seats like canola oil.

The man across from me is wearing a purple and green sunhat, his head down on his chest. I think of the religious strings around his face, the bow under his chin.

Maybe he is God.

I could poke him and say Hey! Are you God?

Are you who I’m looking for?

But even if he was God, I don’t think he’d tell me.

I think, when you’re God, it’s supposed to be a secret.

I thought I saw him at the gas station, buying a Powerball.

I thought I saw him in the grocery store, carrying chicken breasts and almond milk.

But it wasn’t him — not him restocking the leeks, filling up gas, buying a new tie.

Not him on the side of the road, not him walking the yellow dog.

I thought I saw him on the bus. I thought he was sitting right next to me and licking his lips,

I thought it was him but it was never him. I always wait for him on the bus,

One day he’ll walk on from the stop before mine, and I’ll look at him and I’ll know:

I’ll poke him and I’ll say Hey! Are you God!

And he will not say, yes! I am!

‘Cause when you’re God it’s supposed to be a secret.

But he’ll look at me and I’ll know, and he’ll know I know, and I won’t search anymore.


Anna Popnikolova is a senior at Nantucket High School, and heading to Harvard College for undergrad in the fall. She is the editor of Veritas newspaper, and had won several writing awards including the Nantucket Book Festival Young Writers award in 2021 and 2023. She placed Third in the Massachusetts State level of Poetry out Loud 2024. Her favorite poet is Richard Siken, and she has been writing since eighth grade!

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