Poem of the Week, by Sabine Miller

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Please help me be a good teacher today. Please help me bring kindness and clarity and joy. Please help me heal and never hurt. This is one version of an ongoing prayer that unreligious me invokes before I walk into the door of every classroom I teach. It is tough, tough going these days, for so many of us. We feel ourselves, our families, our friends to be under direct attack from our own elected employees. We fear the crumbling of a great, flawed, ugly and beautiful democracy. But hopelessness is not an option. When the terror and outrage threaten to paralyze me I think about the decades I have spent teaching. I think about how energy –my own energy, one single scrawny human being’s energy– can change the feel of an entire room. Exhausted, grieving, in despair, it doesn’t matter; stand outside that room and vow to be and to project energy and kindness and connection. The air in the room will change. You can literally feel it. Every moment of every day you can bring people down or you can lift them up –you, one small person– by the energy you project. We choose what we want our lives to mean, and what we want to leave behind. We have the power to write our own stories. Remember that.

Story, by Sabine Miller

Tell me the one
about the sick girl —
not terminally ill, just years in bed
with this mysterious fever —
who hires a man
to murder her — you know,
so the family is spared
the blight of a suicide —
and the man comes
in the night, a strong man,
and nothing is spoken
—he takes the pillow
to her face — tell me
how he is haunted the rest
of his life — did he
or didn’t he
do the right thing — tell me
how he is forgiven,
and marries, and has
2 daughters, and is happy —
no, tell me she doesn’t
die, but is cured and
gives her life to God,
and becomes a hand-holder for
men on death row —
tell me the one where the man
falls in love with the girl
and can’t do it, or
the girl falls in love
with a dog and calls
the man to tell him
not to come, or
how each sees their pain
mirrored in the other’s eyes —
tell me how everyone has already
forgiven every story
they ever told themselves
about living
or not living —
tell me, oh tell me
the one where love wins, again
and again                and again.

 

Sabine Miller is a writer, visual artist, and qigong practitioner. Recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in Haiku 2013Lilliput ReviewModern HaikuSolitary PloverThe Red Moon AnthologyContemporary Haibun, and Mariposa.

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