Measuring God

Sep 4, 2013

stanfordshoppingcenter1960s.jpg.opt378x287o0,0s378x287Measuring God
is taking a pint glass
to the mighty ocean,
filling it, and putting
it on proud display in
a landlocked town

But, we don’t build
town squares anymore.
No, we build shopping
centers with acres of
parking lots for mini-
vans and hybrids. God,
I wish we still built town
squares. On humanity’s
behalf, I seek forgiveness.
We amputated the Sabbath
from your seven fingered
hand and unceremoniously
cauterized your wound.
Friday, Saturday, Sunday –
it doesn’t matter. Time
isn’t sacred anymore. We’ve
hacked that dimension into
ice cubes spit from refrigerator
mouths and sell it by the ounce.

I used to think that if my mother
was just…normal. If she would
only own a four-door sedan
with a trunk that opened and
closed, parked it in a two-car
garage bloated with sporting
goods and Christmas decorations
and boxes of what is left of my
grandmother, and we had a
refrigerator with an ice and
water dispenser cocooned in
a townhouse, then my
life would start.

The lovely refrigerator died
last Thursday. A week before
my wedding anniversary that
ended in divorce. I am still very
much alive, and, other than a
few minor fluctuations, am
rather happy.

All these trappings. All these
old veils that turn us into
livestock. All these things that
I do not want, so I leave them
here on this page. I will not
measure God. I will not take
tiny tick marks to my soul or
yours. I will not cower at
banks nor interest rates.
Finally, I am brave enough
to read between your lines.

They claim that love can be
reduced to an algorithm. That
if I distill myself to words and
radio buttons and pay $49.95,
my soulmate will arrive via
email. I must protest. Love works
another way. My love is a collapsed
lung because time did not abide
by our terms and conditions. Love
is a waiting room thousands of
miles away from where your heart
beats. Love is awful and drunk and
brine in a pint glass drawn from the
ocean. If you’ve never laid eyes upon
the sea, how can you ever have faith
in those few tawdry ounces?

When I was a girl, I ached for the
back of wardrobes to drop away
and transport me to a magical land
where I could fly and take tea with
minotaurs. I prefer imagination to
reality. This is why the world makes
me tumble, and I only feel upright
when I meet others like me. We are
convinced that miracles are as
mundane as bees collecting pollen
from the lavender bushes at Helen’s
Cottage or a dream of my mother-
in-law’s cabin wrapped in snow.

I will not measure God. I will simply
thank Him for all the mystery and
beauty and know that you still
love me.

Copyright © 2013 Ashley Karr

I am a native Californian – born in Hollywood of all places. Writing is one of my great loves, and I have written and published many pieces over the course of my life – mostly academic. Here is proof that I am addicted to education: I have my B.A. in Anthropology from UCLA; studied Spanish language, culture, and history a la Universidad de Granada; studied finance at Emory University, and have my M.S. in Human Factors and Systems Engineering from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. You can read more about my engineering and design work at You can also read more about my children’s books at and peruse my blog at

Here are a few other tidbits about me. I graduated high school early and moved to Manhattan to model. I was with Wilhelmina NY and LA. I have taught statistics at the university level and Yoga and Pilates since my late teens. My favorite drink is Paris Tea by Harney and Sons. I am claustrophobic and have a very hard time spending extended periods of time indoors, especially when I cannot even open a window. I hate advice.



Editor’s Note: Ashley attended and read one of her original poems at the Whisky & Poetry Salonorganized in part by Hometown Pasadena contributor Kim Ohanneson. Ashley’s parents grew up in Pasadena and she works here periodically in her professional capacity.

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