The Witnessing

Published July 31, 2012 by rlmcdermott

They are coming
to sell me Jesus
knocking on my door
in the late afternoon
as the sun slowly
retreats from the
apartment’s tiny alcove.

I still myself for God
knowing he would never
knock so conspicuously.
Brightly-colored pamphlets
sharpen their teeth against
the men’s rough hands.
Those hands mean no good–
they push at words
like they would push at me,
fleshy and insistent, always
wanting their own way.

They will take who I am
and sell it. For sale:
the alcoholic father,
the abusive mother,
the days of anger, terrible
words and blows, Sundays
barricaded in a shared
bedroom forced to whisper
the rosary because she said so.

They can have it–
the name,
the unsocial security
of compensations
that have outlasted
dangerous times.
I am a veteran
of my own pain;
stolen from life
by bigger enemies
than these small men–
who would covet a name
that means remembrance?

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