Today’s poem comes from a prompt by Marty McConnell that she references in this interview in Muzzle Magazine, a fantastic journal. Give it a try. This is my first pass at the prompt – I think I may work on it some more.
Prompt: (stanza 1) tell us what you are not (stanza 2) say where the light comes from (stanza 3) give three details about the hardest year of your life (stanza 4) tell a lie about who you are (stanza 5) tell us something you remember involving light (stanza 6) share a good memory (stanza 7) admit to the lie (stanza eight) describe an object that exemplifies who/what you are.
The Madonna Complex
I am not like other mothers.
Light emanates from my bones,
its brilliance astounding. Even God
tries to pilfer this brightness, manna
for the blind, rods and cones exploding
into kaleidoscope hallelujahs.
But that year, I was only darkness –
the fallow field, the leached soil.
Nothing would grow, even when
I watered it with blood and tears.
Even when I prayed. So I stopped
praying. I didn’t believe anymore.
When I was a girl, light filtered
through the clouds in parallel rays
and my grandmother pointed
toward the sky, told me that this
was proof that God existed.
My father was her only child,
my brothers her favorites, but she
taught me to love things that come
from the earth, treasure its seeds,
its shoots, its predictable bounty.
I never stopped believing,
and my son came to me from another
womb, that seed unfurling in my arms
into full bloom. Light bursts from
his face in beams, in halos – every
smile is proof there is a God.