Blood must be shed, a sacrifice made.
Noah’s people; Goliath; Uzza, for
trying to steady the Ark.
The wicked and the disobedient,
the careless and the unmindful.
And the boy, so intimate with the Law,
degreed in the doctrine of untimely death,
a master of his myriad flaws,
ten small years old,
wrestles with “Why?”
Why She, and not he,
was appointed to die.
She, anointed and sainted by
all who knew Her, the center of his tiny universe,
source of his breath, creator of his body,
giver of life.
Everyone speaks in hushed euphemisms
of God’s reasons for calling
Her home – reasons wise and just
and just as unknowable. But certainly not
as punishment for Her sins. They
all agree on that. Not
for HER sins.
No. Clearly, she was offered as
an unblemished sacrifice. Offered
for the errors of her progeny -
the Goddess Mother
as proxy for her
inconstant little boy.
When I was 11 years old, my mother died. That’s a terrible age to lose a parent, and people’s attempts to comfort me often had the opposite effect. Specifically, two things people would say always made me feel terrible.
The first was that God must have needed her in heaven. How worthless was I, that an omniscient and omnipotent God would decide he needed her more than I.
The second was that people would frequently talk about feeling her presence. On special occasions, people would say, “I know she’s here, and she’s very proud of you.” Trouble was, I never felt her presence. How worthless could I be that my own mother would manifest to cousins, friends, and perfect strangers, but not to her own offspring?
Only recently have I come to understand that her death wasn’t my fault, and her absence, both physically and spiritually, had nothing to do with my worth as a human being. Only recently have I come to understand that those fumbling attempts at comfort were well intended, but that they said more about the people telling me those things than they said about me.
I wrote this poem in an attempt to explore and understand those experiences.