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No, that’s not my heart
you’re looking at.

I’d hate to be the voice you mistake
for the hand leading you down
the path towards the enduring light,
nor have my words, papery thin
and its evocative colors held
precariously in place by your mind
to have to bear the weight
of breaking your heart
so the Holy Spirit could come in
and lay claim to the pieces

I’d be the last person to call
this cage a fraud, this elaborate
dream seamlessly mimicking life,
which I have paneled with mirrors
to conjure the infinite

you have shown me your favorite knives
and walked around in my presence
wearing on your sleeve the winds
that might carry you away
most easily; I am only giving you
what you told me you wanted,
singing you the songs
I know you prefer to hear.

I’ve bent the daydream so you
might see it better, your image
with the imperfections removed, and
somebody else’s put in their place.
Your stories, in splendid disguise.
Your darkness, framed
so as to do away with your guilt
of going onstage unfinished.
Your autonomous divinity, softened
by language and deliberately
inaccurate brushstrokes
in order to be familiar
without becoming offensive.
All but tricks of the trade.

It is my gift, and it came
from the selfsame womb of knowing
as your blazing certainties and
the quiet glow of your gospels.
But if I showed you the workings
behind the miracle you would
cry blasphemy and accuse me
of betrayal. And if I explained
to you why I did it, you might
recognize the knife that you
showed me when we first met,
and you’d hate that I have
cut the truth with it more
skillfully than you ever could.

So I feign defenselessness, and
deny all intimacy with the mystery

but please,
your tear-stained prayers
are too good for my pages.
You’d shame the nakedness of my name,
saying salvation in the same breath.
That is your heart, not mine,
that you’ve been looking at.
And the grace I’ve received
is not for you to understand.
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Image from Love Me Do Photography

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