The Country of Shame
Sunday, August. You write
To a worn CD of tenors in front of the Eiffel Tower.
You were there in spirit, remember/
You write comforted—old friends singing
Against depression’s undertow,
Failures strapped to your wrists like dead owls
On the midnight roadside.
You dive to dangerous depth, testing
Yourself to see how much
Grief is bearable. ,
Tears in a petrie dish; under the microscope
Each one refracting someone in mid-journey
Everything yes a journey, an odyssey across
Twenty-four hours, the hull of day, nothing
Sparring with you on the horizon,
The tall masts and transparent sails of nothing.
What shame has taken you hostage
Like a stowaway, someone illegitimate
Not worthy of being in the world
Labeled and dispossessed
Who inflicted you
With the fear of being,
Phobic toward your own
The fear that you are not enough
For yourself, have nothing
To give to the world.
Critically burned, what could you do
but as you retreated, return fire, scorching
So many, congregated there in the cathedral
On the perimeter, afraid
Do you like this, this Sunday
Loneliness, when families
Take the air pushing their strollers
Ahead of them
If they knew of the vixen
Looking out from her scratched, grey
Window, waiting for nightfall
That a hawk banks over them,
Strands of fine blond hair in her talons
Live or die. Make up your mind.
Write, write hard and long
Write as CPR, breathing life
Into your own lungs,
Engrave the ragged, residual
testimonials left out in the rain,
Into your own heart.