I Was Trying To Say
written by: Shelly Norris
Hunger is not sin.
Exhaustion is not immoral.
Food was comfort, sleep sometimes the safest place.
But there was never waking without fear.
That if Abraham had not traded Hagar
for Sarah, Ishmael for Isaac
or even before if Adam had not favored
one son’s offering above another
they could have spared the world
this much war. Or, if we quit
believing those ancient even fictional
rejections still matter—now
there’s something to consider.
Unlike romance languages
English has no reflexive verbs, per se; so
to betray can be transitive and intransitive.
Only the trusted can lead us astray or let
our secrets slip; but we are most complicit
in delivering ourselves to foes
as only those we love can truly wound us.
Jesus knew this; you taught me this.
Winters in Wyoming are long, but the rain
in Missouri is more disheartening than snow.
Every single convoluted metaphor
is a pathetic disguise for need. There was
sometimes beauty but never grace.
Longing and desire and passion
are all faces of that same trail boss
who rides herd over our motives.
At times, rejection delivered vile threats.
We are sorry about that.
That not all the actors drank whiskey
or smoked Marlboros like the cowboy
they portrayed. One didn’t even care
for horses but rode them anyway.
Not everyone is in love
with the masculine or the equine.
That it’s perfectly reasonable
to be ambivalent that way.
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