Discernment of Spirits
I enter the story here, caught in the net.
We are a seething, slippery body
bound in the mesh that schools us, makes a mass
that might move as one, pulling knotted rope
behind us through the sea, but banked now spills
us, forgathered in fear, a gasping harvest
of dying flesh. Some scales shimmer in the light.
So many sardines, a few musht and carp,
the fresh tang of the sea soakedin our cells
and leaching into the air to putrefy.
It’s not pretty. The Exercises ask
us to inhabit the story, to see
Jesus from within the frame; I’m always
searching for that slipstream word or the right
body to become, and sometimes it’s tough:
for years I’d be the cranky older son,
jealous about the party. Now my brain
gets stuck on “prostitutes,” the only hint
of a female form in that one. What can
I discern in my loss of patience? I’ve
done the gender-blind casting. And conjuring
women behind the trees? Been there. But lately,
I crave more—to be typecast in key roles:
blinded by the Transfigured Christ beside me,
bowled over by the bounty of my catch.
To feel the Lord’s hand grip my hand to mean,
Come on. I’m told to pay attention to that
yearning. I do. Honestly, we’re a mess
inside this net. We’re bound for transformation,
beautiful in our abundance, but
also, it’s hard to see Jesus from here.
Honestly, it’s a lot. And I feel trapped.