Amends

Rage Hezekiah

Amends

Rage Hezekiah

You taught me                                     to foster rage                                                  momentum

                               on the inside                                       of my woman-body                                 

 

a vascular anthem.                                 I can say                                             the sick man’s prayer

                                    by memory:                                   this is a sick person                                      

 

how can I                                              be helpful to them                                                god save me

                            from being angry                                            thy will be done.

 

My own anger                                     a white flag                                                     of concession.

                            I’ve laid down                                             tired mitts

 

& won’t hit                                          again. How lovely                                           to be out

                           of your range.                                                    Swing

 

away.                                                  You missed                                                    the irony

                          that the poem                                                 you redacted                        

 

confronts denial.                               Secrecy a symptom                                   of our disease—

                                 We’re only                                                     as sick                        

 

as our secrets.                                          Still you sequester                                          bury shame

                        in the garden                                                 of my childhood home

 

hide &                                                      don’t heal.                                                      But didn’t

                        the confessional                                               free you?

 

Didn’t                                              an anonymous man                                    absolve your guilt?

 

                        Mother                                                         what freedom

 

I feel                                                    to not be                                                          yours.

You taught me                                 to foster rage                                      momentum

on the inside                               of my woman-body

 

a vascular anthem.                               I can say                                  the sick man’s prayer

by memory:                                this is a sick person

 

     how can I                                   be helpful to them                                god save me

                          from being angry                                thy will be done.

 

My own anger                                   a white flag                                     of concession.

I’ve laid down                                         tired mitts

 

& won’t hit                                     again. How lovely                                    to be out

of your range.                                              Swing

 

away.                                              You missed                                           the irony

that the poem                                          you redacted

 

confronts denial.                           Secrecy a symptom                             of our disease—

We’re only                                                 as sick

 

as our secrets.                                Still you sequester                                      bury shame

in the garden                                       of my childhood home

 

hide &                                                  don’t heal.                                                But didn’t

the confessional                                             free you?

 

Didn’t                                            an anonymous man                                     absolve your guilt?

Mother                                                      what freedom

 

I feel                                                    to not be                                                         yours.

        You taught me            to foster rage              momentum

                          on the inside           of my woman-body 

 

      a vascular anthem.         I can say         the sick man’s prayer

                           by memory:           this is a sick person

 

         how can I              be helpful to them           god save me

                    from being angry             thy will be done.

 

        My own anger             a white flag               of concession. 

                       I’ve laid down                  tired mitts

 

         & won’t hit               again. How lovely             to be out

                        of your range.                      Swing

 

              away.                       You missed                 the irony

                       that the poem                 you redacted

 

      confronts denial.      Secrecy a symptom      of our disease—

                         We’re only                           as sick 

 

      as our secrets.          Still you sequester         bury shame

                       in the garden           of my childhood home

 

             hide &                    don’t heal.               But didn’t

                        the confessional            free you?

 

        Didn’t            an anonymous man          absolve your guilt?

                   Mother                           what freedom

 

            I feel                        to not be                          yours.

Rage Hezekiah is a Cave Canem and MacDowell Fellow who earned her MFA from Emerson College. She is a recipient of the Saint Botolph Emerging Artist Award in Literature and was nominated for Best New Poets, 2017. Her recent chapbook, Unslakable, is a 2018 Vella Chapbook Award Winner published by Paper Nautilus Press. Stray Harbor, her debut full-length collection of poems, is forthcoming with Finishing Line Press. Rage’s poems have appeared in The Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day, Rattle, Salamander, and several other journals and anthologies. You can find more of her work at ragehezekiah.com.

Rage Hezekiah is a Cave Canem and MacDowell Fellow who earned her MFA from Emerson College. She is a recipient of the Saint Botolph Emerging Artist Award in Literature and was nominated for Best New Poets, 2017. Her recent chapbook, Unslakable, is a 2018 Vella Chapbook Award Winner published by Paper Nautilus Press. Stray Harbor, her debut full-length collection of poems, is forthcoming with Finishing Line Press. Rage’s poems have appeared in The Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day, Rattle, Salamander, and several other journals and anthologies. You can find more of her work at ragehezekiah.com.