Paralytic (from Mark 2)

I have grown used to flatness.

I breathe in deep to absorb

the pitying stares

the careful words

hands on my forehead.

Breathe them in, push

them down flat.


Breathe in the wagging

heads, tongue clucks,

whispered judgments

merciless assumptions.

Shove them down,

beat them to submit

to my rage.


Maybe it is true I deserve

this, a life reduced

to listening, a frame that must be

carried and fed, flesh that must be seen

and touched while eyes look away,



I burn,

helpless even to end the indignity

of myself.


When, against my protests

they carry me up,

I hear them clawing at the roof;

their resolve torments me.

Why should they love me?

Can they not see

what I have become?


I can only close my eyes

as they lower me,

shut my mind to the gasps,

the silence descending with my shame.


The room is still.


I open my eyes, look up

into a gaze

that sees all, knows



He smiles.

“You are forgiven.”

How could He know?

And knowing, how could He love?


He speaks again, but I hear only

those first words,

expanding in me like light, like a sigh.

Something hidden has begun to uncurl.


The world slows around me,

the room a blur of shouts and laughter

as I rise.


I turn, look again at His eyes,

and find them full of tears. He nods.

We both will forever know

the true moment of my freedom.

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