(After Jane Kenyon)
Gratitude ebbs and flows
amid surges of jealousy.
Holding their glossy photos, I am transported–
by the golden teenage gymnast’s beaming smile;
a self-assured figure skater’s soaring spiral;
an elegant ballerina’s graceful bow at curtain call–
to how it might otherwise have been.
Then in crashes news of history’s worst repetitions;
the miserable fates of so many women and children
abused and tormented, locked away, hidden…
So I read it again:
How it might otherwise have been.
Scales fall from eyes and I see
my own invisible cape of privilege,
adjust it with chapped and cut hands
that enable me to ally and self-advocate;
to pray and protest and pay –
exorbitant rent, food, and medicine;
to replace worn clothes, give good gifts,
contribute a share to reparations . . .
. . . with flat feet firmly planted in good sense and empathy;
for being granted a seat at the table and being able
to hold space, even create another place,
for someone who might otherwise
not have been accepted.