The Written Word, Poetry


0 Comments 20 October 2011

I kneeled as a child and believed in you,
Dug my knees into the oak floors of the bedroom
and the mahogany pews of church
afraid to raise my head.

Asked you to keep us safe
asked that my grandparents went on living
even though they were growing old
asked that my dog wasn’t run over
just because he didn’t do what he’s told
childish things, grand things
things that kept me believing.

True, I asked more:
that I was the first one picked on the playground
and no one would protest
that when I dared to ask Ashley for a dance
she might just say yes

You listened for quite some time,
and you fooled me into believing
that something
permeated our souls.

You answered prayers in silence
and made me happy.

Until I stood beside the grave of my grandfather
and heard the gunshots ring out from the cavalcade
celebrating the life You had taken away.

Until from the folds of an ornamental
American flag, I saw reality in small,
cloth-guarded shadows:
that which will be eaten by moths,
may as well be eaten by worms.

Until the same scene replayed again, and again,
not in my head
but in cemetery plots I have memorized by heart.

Until I watched the traffic swerve
around my faithful companion—
I had to carry him home while
his blood made a frown upon my shirt
frown of dead dog froth:  spit and blood
more real to me than any holy shroud.

Until I realized You couldn’t get me a dance
That it was up to me
to make my own chance.
And on the playground
were answered.

The grandiose,
things that keep our young
knees bound
bleeding to hard
You have forgotten
and You have broken me down.

M. Henault

- who has written 512 posts on The Shade.

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