Eight years ago
it entered, building force
organs, blood vessels, a brain,
then talons like tentacles
gripped from the inside
strangling the light, passing
its poison into the bloodstream, feeding off
of adolescence fears and anxiety.
It started small, moments of rebellion,
grew irrational, unkind,
ended in violence – a smashed glass extending
its tear into every room, crevices, vents.
Sacred hope sacrificed to indulge
in dark extremes. Love denied, turned
on its side unable to struggle enough
to set itself upright.
Now it is here, overtaken,
apparent in heavy footsteps,
sleep deprived eyes, unshowered
hair, a room as breeding ground
for clutter and chaos.
I take you with two hands, grip your sloughing shoulders,
your tarry taste and destructive tongue.
I take out what has entered, send it back to the void
and that line of heritage it travelled upon.
I fill the empty pocket with light, first mending it with
the tender-thread of God and the sharp-point of truth.
I iron-gate the place where it left and pour a concrete wall.
I bless this house. I clear the corners, the ceiling, floorboards.
I call the Buddha that was born with you to reawaken,
for my army of angels to lift up their swords. We are
still here. We are love, and love
is the centre, the carriage and the tide,
never defeated, stronger than the frantic pulse,
stronger than the wielding axe and the ash of its remains,
stronger than this cursed person you wear and claim,
strongest now in this hopeless hardened place,
in this choice, beginning.
Step, bless your
new shoes, step and
hold the sun on your tongue like a berry,
leaving an indelible juicy mark,
be guided by other people’s wisdom
as long as it doesn’t undermine your own
and watch yourself enter Eden-Earth in its many glorious
forms – dive into small mounds of sand, pieces of glass,
spiraling trees, trunks, bulging and retracting
in individual rhythm,
a solid movement, stunning as music.
Take this choice from disaster,
offer it the path of the impossible, a pathway into
a miracle because God counts for everything,
counts on flat and hot surfaces,
counts on the deathbed and
in the red coat
The way forward is
the way back, clearing
stumbling blocks that promise
to repeat ahead if not killed
at their source.
To hold the truth even if it tells you
that love is limited in people, certain people
who play both sides – one foot in the basin of heaven
and the other glorifying the haphazard world.
Even if it tells you you cannot save
or be saved by a half-hearted account of kindness,
tells you, it is nothing
to be bitter over, nothing personal and also
not yours to bear the repercussions,
tells you to continue all the way, hold firm
to the thin road and the willingness to lose everything –
home, sacred room, the safety of your own –
for the divine request to follow. Follow then
still managing to bud in backyards untended,
follow then with God at the helm.
You are not abandoned, not like the tin-foil wrapper,
or the chewing gum chewed,
or worn-through undergarments. You are protected
and that protection is warm and powerful and golden
as an owl’s steady eyes. You are afraid I know.
The doors you used to knock on are
boarded up. Steel eyes lock on you, mock you in your anguish.
It feels ruthless, brutally barren,
feels that way only until you fully let go.
I let go. I drop my past, my precious cargo, drop you
and follow, hearing faint the voice that tells me –
The only thing I have to do to receive God’s love
is to believe in God’s love.
Copyright © 2017 by Allison Grayhurst
To be published in Synchronized Chaos, October 2017
You can listen to the poem by clicking below: