Broken, Spring 2001

2001 broken0001

I came to the counselor’s office

broke.  They gave me a student rate,

equal to our weekly grocery budget,

but I deemed it necessary

as food.  When they asked

what prompted my visit,

I said I was a newlywed.

“Congratulations,” they said,

and I burst into tears in the lobby.

The counselor hugged me,

this woman I didn’t yet know,

and told me, “He loves you.”

“I’m not so sure,” I whispered.

Just two weeks after our wedding,

bills arrived, work schedules consumed,

and finals descended.  We saw each other

only when I brought him lunch at work

and right before bed.  He spent

his meager free time with buddies.

Marriage didn’t cure loneliness,

and I staggered from the shock.

In the counselor’s office I poured out

all the swirling changes

which finally pulled me under

into my familiar darkness.

Week after week I vented the pain

and my heart gained strength

while my hope renewed.

On the day that broke me

she asked me to imagine

my younger self in a chair,

to tell that girl what she needed to hear.

The waters stirred deep inside

and I told that former me

she wasn’t bad

she wasn’t condemned

she wasn’t under the curse

of her parents’ divorce

and right then a levee burst.

Water poured out in great sobs

for a small eternity,

and in those open moments

the light of grace shone bright

like the first warm sunshine

that melts the dirty snow.

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