top 40 in an uber, November 2018

there is something cathartic

about crying hysterically

in the back of an uber

while the driver glances over

at the rear view and nervously

digs through the top 40

attempting to ignore you

while Mariah Carey tell us

all she wants for christmas

and it’s “you”

John is not a great driver

but he’s a good companion

he knows that I am not okay

and he doesn’t need to ask

he lands on a song

about moving on


i thought i had emerged

burial shroud

in hand

ready for the WHOLE world

but tonight I am liable to dig

a hole and shove my face

in first

John glances back and says finally

“Hey, I’m sorry to… uh.. interrupt but I just wanted to say.. maybe take a breath??”

that’s very sweet but

breathing in is hard

with a mouth full of

dirt, John.

-Sheila C.

for you 

how can i pray 

for you? 

I’m a quiet athiest 

but i want peace 

for you. 

i read all 114 surahs 

a labor of love, 

for you. 

I hoped to understand 

the way you loved 

and experienced loss. 


I grew wise 

for you.

i changed the season 

for you.

my branches 

became bare 

my white bulbs 

began to weep 

petals on the ground,

for you.

I became reborn,

for you.

I was dust 

and cloud 

and light 

and eternal 

and I did not 

know myself 

as I am,


for you. 

– Sheila C. 

the parable of the athiest

when you were 5

you looked up at the sun

as the clouds split open

to welcome the morning

and you found him.


when you were 12

you had been too tired to say goodnight.

the next day,

your grandfather would not wake up

and you questioned him.


when you were 15

your first love slept with your best friend.

you watched a towel soak up your blood

after smashing a mirror in the foyer

and you blamed him.


when you were 20

you took your first quantum mechanics course.

you understood your disturbing insignificance

in the expanse of the universe

and you erased him.


when you were 29

your people washed up on shores.

as the world looked away,

you said

“I don’t know but it’s a worth a try”

and you begged with him.


– sc