We were as voiceless children, offered up
for the entitlement of others. We were as mimes,
our faces hidden beneath make-up.
Our hands were the hands of children,
our bodies shocked into adulthood.
When I was a child I prayed to God,
turned to what’s visible,
saints glistening in blue windows,
a priest gathering sins up into the coals.
My father, a figure in the corner,
a sharp headless looming, a disastrous need
I could not name sin.
Easier to forget and forget I did.
Praise the child of Lethe
and this woman now remembering violence.
I want to believe in something miraculous,
but the sea of sky calls me to sobriety.
God wasn’t a figure or a form? God, a summer respite
after the breaking. We can beg for forgiveness,
but we must first forgive our limitations.
Risen to the pink sunrise, the crazy coos of birds,
and the silence of waking, we are as children,
as blooms and flickering stars. Everything a comparison
of wonder. There is justice in the still day—
beauty in the morning light. As a child,
the desert sun set spectacular along hilltops.
Here now in Saratoga Springs comes
a still slow recovery.
The sun glints and tops the pines.
We are at once as the first sunrise,
as the first willows in the wind.
We are the first heron on the stillest lake,
ribbons of moonlight cast along water.
I am posting the above poem because I want to see it in a new light. Somehow, having an actual audience, however small, gets me to revise better. Right now I'm still struggling with revision, though I have trimmed and cut a lot out of the manuscript, I recognize that the subject matter, childhood abuse, death and recovery are difficult to get a grip on. The language of trauma is flat? I am trying and trying to recover, as well as get a grip on the poems. Lots of uncertainty and doubt, lots of fear too. I think I am just going to have to get over it and send the manuscript back to the reviewers soon, so I can receive their feedback. So, here's to a work in progress, slow progress.