Bureau of Complaint

by Linda McCullough Moore

The Israelites grumbled in the desert 
and the destroying angel smote them. 
Smite, smitten, not quite the same. 
Smote them, with a plague; 14,700 of them 
died before Moses’ brother and Man Friday, 
Aaron, could get the incense out 
to stop the scourge.

That's how much God likes complaining.

Let’s construct the daisy chain: 
Everything that happens is God’s will.
(I’m sorry, but it is. A god who’s just 
in charge of good must be a part-time, 
jury-rigged contraption.)
God wills a thing to be;
if we complain of it 
we’re spitting in his eye, 
implying, “You did this, 
and you got it wrong.”

Cue the destroying angel.

A man called Jack, 
yes Lewis, C.S. Ph.D. 
said even if eternity 
lasts only a million years,
that a complaining woman 
would in less time than that
become a demon, 
a nightmare grumble,
and she as she would cease to be.
I think he thought complaining
might not be good for you at all.
Might shrivel and demean, destroy 
you altogether. A caution.

If later on this afternoon, 
somebody asks me how I’m doing, 
I’m going to tell them, “Fine.”

Linda McCullough Moore is the author of two story collections, a novel, an essay collection and more than 350 shorter published works. She is the winner of the Pushcart Prize, as well as winner and finalist for numerous national awards. Her first story collection was endorsed by Alice Munro, and equally as joyous, she frequently hears from readers who write to say her work makes a difference in their lives. For many years she has mentored award-winning writers of fiction, poetry, and memoir. She is currently completing a novel, Time Out of Mind, and a collection of her poetry.

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