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Poetry

Audio: Read by the author.

 

For the Lord reproves the one he loves
—Proverbs 3:12

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—
longing to—

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.

 

 

 

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