More on forgiveness

A flower behind my ear

1.

White blossom big as a fist
against the side of my head—
even when I listen carefully,

the fragrance reveals nothing.

2.

Once, there was a whisper
in my ear, knife at my cheek, scrape
of a man’s voice, predictions,
like this is going to ruin you.
And now? I still tell no one

whose hand’s on my knee.

3.

If ever we need forgiveness,
it will be for this:
nothing anyone gives us is enough.

Resent the empty stalk.

Shame on the flower
for not being able to live.

///

And so this theme of forgiveness (most recently in Deb’s Because we are hungry) keeps luring me. Along with the associated themes of guilt and responsibility. I am so surprised where this went. And I fought it a long time. I think it’s one of those drafts that barely makes sense to anyone except its author. I don’t plan on adding any kind of narrative or exposition, but instead, think revision calls for amping up its “offness.”

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8 thoughts on “More on forgiveness

  1. And something funny? I don’t believe in forgiveness. Don’t believe in asking for it. Don’t believe in granting it.

    What fascinates me about forgiveness is the stuff on its periphery: acquiescence, attrition, need for acceptance, imbalance of power. That kind of thing.

    • I like the last three lines, though. Perhaps there is a way to keep them (or the idea of them) & take out the mandate. Hmm.

      I like the violence in the first two stanzas. Maybe not like, exactly, but like the power of words like fist paired with flower.

  2. Pingback: Memorial Day weekend: How did this happen? « carolee sherwood

  3. I like all of this….I can feel you letting yourself say things (does that make sense?). I actually prefer it without narrative in this case.

    I know just what you mean about “fighting” a poem as we write it. I don’t see this ending as preachy–but I do notice a shift in voice. Not bad, at all—just something I noticed.

    Loving this.

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