Kathy Wade

I do not know you

and do not know how

to know you

without appearing

superior, comfortable,

without looking as if I am

studying you as an object,

turning my gaze

to the curious

and the unknown.

I am uncomfortably

aware that I hold power,

that it is I who initiate

the invitation, not you,

that it is you who know me,

a White American, better

than I know myself, for

though I’ve averted my eyes

for decades, you have been

studying me, a white person,

learning my practices and rules,

my walls and boundaries

for longer than history

has recorded.

And yet…

here I am, reaching out

to know you better,

no — to know you just a little,

for I do not know you

cannot say I know you

the real you, at all.

--

--

Don’t say there are no miracles.

You saw as well as I did

that she spread her arms in the pool

like a heron’s wings, freestyle,

saw both legs spread and kick –

even the leg and arm numbed to

silence by that tumor — don’t tell me

you don’t believe. Watch

the way her muscle memory

brought her back to those

summer days at the Lake, marvel

the way her lizard brain remembered

the days she freestyled her way

around the Atlantic ocean. Years ago

I made her memorize in high school

the words to Whitman’s poem that

begins: “Why, who makes much

of a miracle? As to me I know of

nothing else but miracles…”

Now she is teaching me

again

to believe.

--

--

No forehead smudge or sprinkled ash –
I joined instead a community
of seekers and healers,
their sacred vessels sterile syringes,
frozen vials of vaccine.
Miracles were worked at stations
scattered across a bright gym sanctuary,
the ritual swift, the exchange concise,
my birthdate whispered,
the puncture caring and gentle.

Nurse-acolytes led me through
a ceremonial passage
from anxious fear to certain hope,
wishing me a ‘Blessed Day.’
I did not wait forty days
to sing ‘Alleluia.’

--

--

I had a lovely poem
ready to share today
all about the Universe
and how I finally understood
my place in the Plan — and
yours too — and the poem
laid out each step
so carefully and with
such Wisdom, that the paper
crackled and snapped — you
wouldn’t have believed it —
the paper flew off my desk
to the floor where my cat
had been practicing his
morning Yoga — and he
pounced on my poem,
chewed it to bits
and ate it.

Believe me,
it was
a very
good
poem.

--

--

No forehead smudge or sprinkled ash —
I join instead a community
of seekers and healers,
their sacred vessels sterile syringes,
frozen vials of vaccine.
Miracles are worked at stations
scattered across a bright gym sanctuary,
the ritual swift, the exchange concise,
my birthdate whispered,
the puncture caring and gentle.
Nurse-acolytes lead me through
a ceremonial passage
from anxious fear to certain hope,
wishing me a ‘Blessed Day.’
I will not wait forty days
to sing ‘Alleluia.’

--

--

Kathy Wade

Kathy Wade

Author of a novel, Perfection, and many essays and poems. A teacher, writer and consultant in Cincinnati, Ohio. https://www.kathleenwadeperfection.com