This poem (sestina) was first published at Eunoia Review in June 2012.
Gazing through car windows,
All my possessions thrown
Away. I give up control
Of my life. Tracts of trees
Draw me onward, cleaning
My mind. My heart unshelved.
A room with empty shelves
Greets me. A small window –
Not allowed to open. I clean,
Then unpack, cannot throw
A party. Fifty acres of trees,
Hills, hermitage. Who controls?
This mother-nun, a control
Freak, fills long pantry shelves
And freezers with food. The tree-
House, deer-hunter washes windows,
Fixes furnace and throws
Out evidence. Jesus makes clean.
Dear Lord, please make me clean!
I am a leper, a whore. No control.
“Sin no more.” The priest, oh, I throw
Up! A drunk with Virgin Mary shelved.
Eyes of chapel – you windows –
Do you see him behind trees?
I am drawn to secluded pond, tree
With swing. Mushroom skulls unclean:
Dead babies? See my frost-lined window,
Frozen mind and paths uncontrolled.
Creaking building, slamming doors, shelves
Losing books. I must pass through.
Ritual blessings, holy water thrown.
That’s why Jesus hung upon a tree.
Now his statue sits on my shelf.
I expected to become holy and clean.
All I got was used and controlled.
I see nothing with my heart-window.
The many rooms, windows, circled by trees,
Candle holders on shelves, vases most clean:
My soul controlled, my heart speared through.