Audio: Read by the author.
For the Lord reproves the one he loves
See, I’d forgotten. Hemmed
in by space, made meaningless
by time, took always the wrong path.
My limbs stretched so far from my body
they turned to greedy-mouthed
children. They call this nursing.
A day was a corridor with many doors.
Behind each door a cliff. So I ran
to the stairs our city had built and I climbed
up those three hundred and I ran
them down and I climbed them again.
There was nowhere I could go to hide.
From where I was broken I could not flee.
I stood there gasping
longing to be—
Is it not the case that you loved
a man who cut off the ear
of a soldier and then ran to hide?
Who tried to walk on water and failed?
Is it not the case that you loved a man
once who asked for proof?
I’d like to know how to be a hen
brooding over her children, when you made
me a storm. God, really—
there are too many lessons.
Liz Harmer, a Canadian writer living in California, is the author of the novel The Amateurs (Knopf Canada). Her stories and essays have been published widely. In 2019, she was the runner-up for the Mitchell Prize.