The Art Of Forgiveness

By Naomi McPeters

I never learned the art of forgiving, only that of forgetting
And now I cannot do either.
I am enclosed inside this anger that cages me,
My soul shut up within the pages of her Bible and her Lord
--so different than mine--
That I cannot recognize them.
She has sparked a surge of remembering that leaves me without breath or identity.

These empty walls hear my screams;
My skin burns with the need to feel;
My brothers and sisters beg me for salvation, just out of reach;
Their eyes speak their pain;
In my memories and in my dreams,
I can never save them;
My.spirit flew away and has not returned;
Holiness, to me, is but a word.

Consumed by a history of pain that began before me,
And will continue after me,
The woman's bruised heel
Bruises many hearts after her.
Fraudulence contains my sense of being
Remaining within the echoes of disaster
With no visible roots to burn away
The brokenness,
I am silent.

The art of forgiveness has been the silence that keeps the wheels from burning
Silence that traps its children in worlds of isolation.
Decades of silence;
Unending “forgiveness.”
Never a word spoken
Of the sin-soaked holy woman.
Originating before her was a crisis of rage
That has now consumed both of us, all of us.

Truth always skirting the edges of my soul, in the distance,
One heart pulsating rivers of furious
Because forgiving means beginning
The cycle again and again,
Simply dousing a fire that burns hotly through the undergrowth.
I have no words to extinguish the madness,
Only silence
That eats at the soul until nothing remains of the chaos.

In this silent forgetting
Lies falsified, undefinable forgiveness
Keeping the fires of hell itself burning,
Erasing the hope of truth ever emerging,
Of rain quenching the flames,
Of lifting my soul to its Maker.