a sanctuary poem

[set to Tenebrae: Second Movement performed by Kronos Quartet]

Reminder number one:
walk slowly. Steps matter
Smoke rises to greet the sky
afraid. Is it enough?

I sat on the floor today
Carpet circa 1995
Tough grey-brown, bland #11
Comfortless reliability stretched for meters around my exhausted frame
Lean brown-skinned girl, twisted locks set ponytail-like
Legs crossed. Elbows propping head in hands

What now?
Two words linger in the mulberry scented apartment air of unanswered questions
While the winter wind carries the tear-filled scream of an
ill-mannered child through my non-storm windows
Shut up dad!
Children these days. When did they get so…so…

Reminder number two:
quiet. This, a holy
sacrificial moment…
wait. Come one at a time.

The last yellow-orange teardrop quickly dies
Another offering accepted, grey haze hovering lightly above what once had
Breath in
Breath out
Now in sacred posture, hushed tones.

I’ve grown accustomed to this rhythm
Become familiar with this daily walk through what’s gone wrong
Never perfect except when perfectly not what He asked for…
again
A clear picture of blood disconnected from Life

Reminder number three:
apologize. Honest workers needed
apologize for unplugging yourself
for not dwelling in the present

I said sorry
Did He hear me?
I know…bible + prayer = growth
a kindergarten special that I stopped singing when I outgrew action songs
long legged stretch marks begat skepticism and skepticism begat an unconscious desire to shrink

but I’m different now
And I said I’m sorry
Did He hear me?
No thunder
No feeling
Everything sits still
Even time

Did he hear my confession?
The words “I don’t want to live like this anymore”
The prayer “Help me!”
I call but hear no response

Reminder number four:
no veil. no distance.
approach boldly…because you can.

I said, did You hear me?
Did you take my apology seriously, noting the head bowed and eyes closed, knees connecting with ground for what seemed like hours?
Did you feel my sincerity even though we’ve been through this before—me the altar call addict, You the Ever Patient?
Do you (really) accept me as I am, too broken to ever be
whole, too selfish to ever bring a complete sacrifice?

Reminder number five:
Assurance
You take this lifeless form
Breathe in
Breathe out
daily praying, interceding
Father forgive her…she just doesn’t know…yet

Then you press rewind
head back
daily revealing
Angels see…my grace has been sufficient

Reminder number six:
Great is Your faithfulness
God, You’re my Father
Mine

You’ve done all you can so that I’ll talk with You
and walk with You
so that I’ll never think to stop
Eden will be home forever

You’re always reminding me to listen, to really hear You
not just throw words at You
expecting white rabbits and plastic roses in return
imitators have been banished

Reminder number seven:
No need to be afraid
It is finished
I can be saved if I choose…
If I choose to stay your child
If I choose to worship
If I choose to believe

it’s 4% intellectual ascent. 104% faith…or thereabouts…so it seems
Just to believe that you want me, here, now
Dark glass and all
Cross-burnt hatred and all
Simmering rage and all
Perfection is a lost coin
I’ve just commenced the search

Meanwhile You’ve found me
Dusty at best
And You want to keep me
and I think You’re crazy
but if crazy saves
If crazy saves
I’ll take it…

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