Forgive me

I open a chamber of my soul for you,
a chamber desiring no visitation.
Violated, tortured, and gassed were you,
but not forgotten.
You live in the memories
of those who escaped,
who bear the heavy burden
of survival,
who bear testimony
and give you a name, a face.
The prayer chokes upon my clumsy lips:

Forgive me that I could not prevent
what was done to you.
Forgive me that I was not with you
to bear the unbearable.
Forgive me that I was not born
when they declared your life unworthy.
I open a chamber of my soul for you.
Forgive me.

In the Morning

Opening the window widely
to release the bouquet of birds
and the singing of flowers
outward into nature
where dewdrops darkly
repose on brown grass.

Like scars upon a body
the footprints of bugs,
cut in bizarre trails
the sand underneath the house.

Wood stretches groaningly
toward the moon
which brighter than sunlight
drowns everything in moist-green light.


My dead ones cling to me.
They are always present
in my thoughts and dreams.
Their withered arms
reach for me,
pull me toward them.
I read a question
in their vacant eye-sockets:
When will you join us?

My ill ones seek consolation
No one commiserates like me.
They cry out for me,
the breast cancer and the fractured pelvis,
the multiple sclerosis.
The stroke can call no more,
his son takes over.
They demand: Be there for us.
Bear it with us.

I lift my head, heavy with worry,
gazing into the smiling face
of my beloved.
He too has a question:
When will you start living?