Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Poem 018

Going forth and returning
Listen carefully and eat what is good. Isaiah 55:2

My first saskatoon pie bubbles over in my oven-mitted arms.

The berries grew along our path to St. Malo beach where my daughter mixed a seaweed cure for sadness.

I know a woman who hears God speak. He showed her a sea of women, white as stone, missing souls.

As I filled my pail, a girl from the next campsite peppered me with good news: a painted turtle by the bathroom, a swallow’s nest, baby bunnies under that bush.

St. Malo’s name means “beautiful captive.”

My thoughts rise to the sheltering oaks, the falcon circling. I will never hear what moves her.

Sometimes I dream I’ve lost my way. Other times, I’m falling.

The camper before us backed over a pine sapling. My son dug it out to nurse to health outside his window.

Some teens were singing hymns around their campfire. Through the brush, I could hear the music, but the words were muffled.

My husband got sick on frozen blueberries as a child. He can’t taste the difference.

After God showed the woman the vision of stolen souls, her father sent a photo of a holocaust memorial. The faces were the same.

Some of the berries grew so deep in poison ivy only the deer and her fawn could reach them. They looked at me, but I didn’t understand the question.

Every year, my son’s pine will grow three inches.

When I was small, the church choir sang “The valleys stand so thick with corn that they laugh and sing.” My Oma pursed her lips around the valleys’ irreverence.

I left the mountain of wet beach towels and dusty sheets in the entrance to wash my berries. Preheat the oven.

My son has a bellyache and won’t eat anything but dry bread. I don’t like to eat alone.

I ring the neighbours’ bell to see if they’ll share a slice. I wonder if God told me to. Last time I gave a neighbour pie, the husband said “It’s her birthday, apple is her favourite, she’s dying.”

This time, there’s no answer.

After the woman who hears God saw the photo, she prayed for the girls in her life to know true beauty. To be free.

The rain falls on me like a word. Then a story, soaking in.

When I open my front door, my daughter is at the piano, singing “as long as thou lendest me breath” to her own tune.

The berries rush to fill the gap my first slice leaves behind.

In winter, almost all of our tiny pine will be invisible. Except the crown, pointing up.

A camp counsellor once told me the Trinity is like a pie: three equal pieces, one fluid filling.

I cannot put a finger on my soul.

Sweet juice traces a path to my chin. Repurples my tongue.

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Angeline Schellenberg of Winnipeg, Manitoba, is a copy editor for the Mennonite Brethren Herald. Her poems about autism and childhood appear in Prairie Fire, CV2, TNQ, Rhubarb, Room, Geez, and The Society. "Going forth and returning", as can be seen in the epigraph, comes forth from Isaiah 55:2.