Bremerton was gray from the ground up
the day a former nun ripped out my guts
and stomped on them in front of 24 strangers.
At the time I didn't know she'd been a nun;
but I did know she was Published
and I had been raised to respect
my elders. For two hours, she pontificated
over the other 24 poems while I sat
sweating, heart twitching,
waiting for my turn. Waiting.
Was my poem lost? forgotten? Finally,
in the last 2 minutes, the Poet asked,
"Who wrote this? Who wrote this
last piece?" I raised my hand,
every white face turned to look.
"I don't have much to say, really.
Not well-crafted. Too angry.
And you've created a genocidal God!"
She laughed. "Give it up and start over.
Thank you, everyone, it's been
a lovely afternoon."
Done! My niece's death, her
with bone-marrow donors,
the history of Father Serra's
missions, dismissed, wrong.
Not a poem, she said.
All the way home, I seethed
with horror and shame,
chewed hard words
till my jaw, inflamed,
cracked on the splinters.
on Tiara's name:
I'll be a better writer
someday, tell this story
without so many flaws,
do right by you. Now,
decades later, I know:
it wasn't me. Sometimes
one woman's saint
is another's nightmare;
sometimes, a genocidal
God is just
a genocidal God
and no amount of schooling
makes pretty poetry
out of that.
- Deborah A. Miranda
ps: I am having trouble pasting in text from Word; it consistently double-spaces everything, and doesn't keep the stanza formatting. This poem is in tercets, but I can't get the stanza breaks to appear. I AM using the "paste from Word" button at the bottom of the blog form. If I go to HTML, I can change the code, but it's an enormous hassle and I'm not all that expert. Any ideas? Please let me know. dm.