The Upside Down
*Trigger warning. A poem written in a wilderness of darkness, during treatment for chronic illness.
baby’s breath is plucked from every bed
as it buds with ruthless claws.
Air is snatched out of parched lips
that grasp desperately
for a cool taste of a deep inhale.
Its usual sweetness burns
through constricted exhales
that twist sinuously in midair
permitting just enough wheezing for
smiling, moving and laughing.
I’ve been locked away again
inside the invisible place. The genuine
and familiar sound of my own voice is
contorted by a black atmosphere into
an eerie, distant off-note. How can
anyone see you are not you, when it is
so natural to impersonate yourself?
Every word and blossom slithers
through my stomach. The sun pulses
too brightly and loudly in my ears. The
Cheerios jeer from their bowls and scream
as I drown them in milk.
My eyes dart to the tree through the window,
vibrating in my peripheral vision. It stops
and the clock thumbs its nose at me out of the corner
of my eye. The house hovers heavy over my shoulders
and the moving, melting world floods
my limbs with its foreboding crawl.
I try to hold the face of my chattering child
in the narrow view of
a pinhole camera
When lay down to rest
the upside down pounds on my heart,
undulates through my veins and
mocks my rebuke.
God's Word rescues me from drowning
in the serpentine rivers of my view
although I often wish to.
His grace reverses the undertow
and his kindness invites
repentance for His thoughts,
where my insight
turns to snakes
and the buoyant resilience
of the cross takes me
through another gritty day,
called good by the Lord.
My insides plunge for the exit
because they can't take
another day inside my skin
yet the King of Kings holds fast
his throne through every whipping
torrent -- Captain of the high seas
The upside down has come for me
and Jesus has answered my call
but not by turning it right-side up
He answered by turning me
larger than I
Myself, in Him
and He in me
hand and hand
By his light
And I’m here
Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn,
for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure of heart,
for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
Gospel of Matthew 5:3-10