Poem for Myhre
I want to write a poem
to tell her the things that I’ve learned
Then, of course, being the day
she handed me the letter
saying: “God, Camp, I made you look better than Jesus.”
And my cheeks flushed red.
“I, I hope not” was all I could stammer
and secretly wonder
If we could pull the wool over their eyes
with a recommendation from a sharp-tongued lesbian
who believed I was better than Jesus.
I want to tell her about the year
my grandmother cried
about all those conservatives
who didn’t like her sister coming to church.
That day I wished I wasn’t one of them,
even as I let them restrict my words
“It’s because they don’t know Aunt Sally and Carolyn like you do.”
But I probably didn’t know them either,
so I cried in my room.
It wasn’t until over a year later,
on that walk,
that I started to listen.
My ears growing taut in the cold
to the choked sounds of her voice
recalling the first time
she had ever felt fully a person.
And my response:
“have you ever felt that way since,
felt that way here?”
The silence stung with her simple
I would tell her of the broken places I’ve seen.
How sometimes I wish I could hold that brokenness
and take a part of it as my own.
So She wouldn’t have to,
And She wouldn’t have to
And He wouldn’t have to always hold
those fragile pieces
with such strength and gentleness.
She must know how honored I am
to be their friends.
By them, of course,
I mean my roommates.
The women who have shown me
what it means
to love and fight and persevere.
The roots of our souls have gone down deep
And it is not odd;
It is beautiful and gracious.
Finally, I would say:
that if I could, I would write a letter
This time for her, instead of me.
Telling them how my dear teacher, Myhre,
has taught me to be more like Jesus.
Because she loved me,
even when I believed she wasn’t real.
And she sought my best,
even when I negated hers.
And probably she is more like Jesus
than I could ever hope to be.
– Maggie ’09