Three significant deaths in one year--
my father-in-law, my father,
And then I lose my academic position
without hope of tenure
or possibly ever teaching again.
What the hell?
I’m no Job.
Then in the next two years
I lose my family
I lose the home I rehabbed.
Yes, I get a great new home
WITH MY DYING MOTHER.
I even had to put the dog down.
What are you thinking?
And then my husband just drops dead.
Plop. Gone. Right before my eyes.
By this time I’m almost nonchalant.
Of course my husband’s dead at 51.
Of course it was two days
before he started a new job
that would have given us life insurance.
Of course, you bastard.
To say I’m pissed at you
would be a monumental understatement.
I AM Job.
If you are indeed in control,
you play with people’s lives,
bandying them about like tennis balls
during your regular games with Satan.
As my namesake said,
“If this is the way you treat your friends,
no wonder you don’t have too many.”
It is simply too much. Too, too much.
I once heard a sermon on Jacob
wrestling with the angel,
a passage I always loved
because you bless Jacob
for struggling for the blessing,
no matter what,
and he was strong,
so strong you have to cheat to bless.
The preacher pictured you
like his bullying cousin
sitting on him, arm behind his back,
threatening to break it,
yelling, “Say ‘uncle!’ Say it! Say ‘uncle!’”
Well, here I am, Lord,
face ground into the dirt.
You win, you sonofabitch.
I'm just not that strong.
And then I hear, “Get up.”
You’ve ground me down so much
that I can’t get up anymore.
Except that, ironically,
I don’t want my life to be a cautionary tale
to others who want to see you through me.
Perhaps I have been ground down
like stained glass to fit
into a larger storied window
that others may see your light through.
Perhaps. I don’t know.
But I can’t arise from all this
wallowing in the dust
unless you help me.
I simply can’t rise on my own.
And that is when
you come to me
and pick me up
with a slow smile.
It’s not sadistic,
but tender and sad
and full of compassion.
“This is what I’ve been waiting for.”
You help me climb up your body
like an Argentinian tango dancer,
limp, yet moved by love.
Again, you cheat,
and the impassioned dance
© 2012 Tess Lockhart. All rights reserved.