Bryce EmleyJune 14, 2019

The pain wasn’t in dying

but in belief in you, that you required of me

my motherhood. Harder than giving my son away

was asking for the strength to leave him,

knowing I would become that strong,

that, like any mother, I would submit

to being known by the ones whose names

my own knelt into. My God,

I left my life behind me. And still,

I wasn’t yours, exactly. I wanted more of myself

for you. When the wolves were set loose,

I could only ask for teeth.

I wanted show. I loved the whips,

their urgent artistry, the calligraphy of praises

drawn across the canvas of my back.

And as the boy soldier’s hand set

to trembling, I couldn’t help but take the blade myself,

show him where its edge would leave me

holy. Father, forgive me my greed.

More: Poetry
Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

The latest from america

President Joe Biden delivers remarks to promote his "Build Back Better" agenda at the Capitol Child Development Center in Hartford, Conn., on Oct. 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Biden is lobbying for a spending bill containing many ideas that the U.S. bishops have long supported. Catholic leaders and voters should recognize this opportunity for bipartisanship.
J. Kevin ApplebyOctober 20, 2021
God is more than we can comprehend, and sin limits what we can understand.
Terrance KleinOctober 20, 2021
Pope Francis called for greater female leadership in world affairs, telling the Women’s Forum G-20 that “our world needs the collaboration of women, their leadership and their abilities, as well as their intuition and their dedication.”
People pray during a Catholic service outside the Legislative Council building in Hong Kong as they protest the extradition bill with China June 11, 2019. (CNS photo/Thomas Peter, Reuters)
Dialogue is always preferable to confrontation, Cardinal Dolan said. ”[But] my gut also tells me that you can’t negotiate with these people. It could be extraordinarily counterproductive.”
Kevin ClarkeOctober 20, 2021