It started out easily enough: I shaved off my hair,
my pride and my vanity, and cast it in the fire.
Trouble was, I just looked too damned good that way;
so I broke the mirror and used the shards
to prick out my eyes;
after that, it became more tricky.
Unseeing, I stumbled.
While I was down anyway,
I removed my feet.
Having involved my hands in
such violence, they, too,
had to go.
They gasped when they found me,
they covered their eyes,
they cried, ” Curse God and die!”
To remove the temptation I took out my tongue,
but the Spirit interceded with groans,
with sighs too deep for words,
my own lungs betrayed me,
the very air I breathed
had to be expelled, permanently.
only a beating heart
remained to remember how he
lifted away leprosy,
breathed life in and sucked sin out,
and sinews and souls,
and to wonder
when this would get better.
From this Sunday’s readings:
If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than to have two hands and to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than to have two feet and to be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out; it is better fr you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to be thrown into hell, where their worm never dies, and the fire is never quenched. (Mark 9:42-48)