Shriven

Amanda Glass

No sound falls on my ears, no vision
soothes my eyes. My tongue is without speech,
my vocal cords are cut. I am deaf,
blind, mute, wretched, beyond the reach
of myself. I am six feet deep
in cold mud, sealed into my grave.
No one walking the earth above
could hear or help me. I gave
no thought to mortality, so
I did not sense its chilling breath
on my throat. Nothing is left me
but those who share this house of death
and they are no comfort to me,
nor can I give them aid. All grace
is dried up, like the boards I feel
a few inches before my face.

Wood slides against wood, a dim light
floats before me in patterned squares.
Then you speak and I answer you.
I, a suicide, can still dare
to beg, to demand your mercy
with the voice which you have just loosed.
This love, unleashed, would be fatal,
but you restrain it—you are used
to our brittle weakness. My sight
and hearing come awake, my lungs
fill painfully, like a newborn’s, but
it is sweet to breathe! My tongue
is paralyzed with disbelief
and trembling gratitude. You send
me out; I part the heavy drapes
and go. Who can comprehend
this wounding mercy? And who
on the street can see, as I leave
this stony sacred place, that
I am joyful Lazarus, reprieved?
I shed my grave-clothes on the steps
and run out dancing and in song.
Truly you make ecstatic right
from all my mean, soul-numbing wrong.

Amanda Glass graduated in 1999 from Franciscan University of Steubenville, where she majored in Humanities and Catholic Culture. Her poems have appeared in The Lyric and in Garlands of Grace: An Anthology of Great Christian Poetry. She and her family live in western Maryland, where she is a full-time wife and mother.

Comments

  1. Juanita McGregor says

    Amanda,
    I certainly don’t want to dither about a piece of writing as spectacular as yours but I would like to thank you for not only what you wrote but for having the mindset to do so. Something tells me, and I hope this gets wide readership, that your words may bring more healing to many than all the therapy in the world.
    Juanita McGregor

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