Today                                       just today
is a forgiveness exercise.               I try to live as though
yesterday has no hold on me.                          A roaring in my ears
rises in volume
as I sit quietly in a room                          or back the car out of a lot.
I ask God to help me do this.
I cut open an envelope of sesame seeds.
Flour, an egg, and water.
——-I bake shaobing with salt over flames.
I cannot live in a fireplace always burning. Ash to ash.

———————–I eat shaobing like communion,
with eyes closed, a sacramental union.
After washing my hands, I walk around the corner.
Yesterday is a once-worn wedding dress         at the dry cleaner’s
no one claims.                          After a month, the store owner
seals the dress                                    chiffon and satin and lace
in a keepsake box to display in the window.
One day             not this afternoon             I shall walk past this box
without batting an eye.            Whose wedding was it?

So long ago, I cannot remember.

Was this mine in another life? Will I take a pair
of shears and cut it to shreds as a work of art—
memory’s textile as a living sculpture?

——————————–Sin by sin, we confess
——————————-our flotsam and jetsam. Yesterday’s hurts.
The shearing, that is.
Not the dress.

The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Access one piece of artwork every month for free! To experience the full archive, log in or subscribe.

Related Poetry

Some Small Bone


Hailey Leithauser

Between Prayer


Cameron Alexander Lawrence

Full Thunder Moon


Julie L. Moore

image looking down upon a cluster of small leafy branches with a copperhead snake body visible between some of the leaves.

In an Indiana County Thick with Copperheads


Carrie Jerrell

Pin It on Pinterest