Like a flower breaking earth.

You’re still here in all your flesh

and memory serves to correct me

on the little details caught up

all around me like dead skin in dust.

How often I look at photos memorizing

the ghost lines of a gone face,

paying my condolences to an empty casket

and curled consciousness, yellowed with the wear

of bringing you out and setting you in my sun.

And grief is a cruel mistress, keeping the dead alive,

or maybe the living just dead enough for me to still own you,

take your future captive,

to tell stories to my friends of the used to be,

ignoring that there is a right now going on in a universe

I don’t belong to.

And it’s only when I set my heart on my Portion,

On the lone One who knows the intricate weave of all the cells

I can’t see,

That I can see my right now, too, how it doesn’t have to be

darkened by the once was.

How I can bury you whole and still breathe,

watching you breaking through all my wrongs

like a flower breaking earth.

© 2023 by Ericka Clay

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From beginning to end.

I’m feeling clipped and left in the pile,
only hoping to be whittled,
or used for some sort of decorative
mantle piece that will gather dust
and spiders,
but suddenly I’m lifted high,
and I can feel Your face like the sun.
The root in me is the root in You,
and all is deepened and brought water
and learns to rest, then grow,
an undulating dance of branch
against vine.
And all I ever thought I was is merely kindling
for the fire,
but all I ever am in You is everything from beginning
to end.

© 2023 by Ericka Clay


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Upon the hot earth.

In all the world,
there was only one man
like Jonah,
who knew Your voice so well,
he came to ignore it,
and even in the belly of that
great big fish—
tree days, rotting and stinking
in the acidic waters,
crying out to the Lord
who wanted only to giveth,
while he longed only to take away—
he emerged at the feet of a people
he declared as rotten as the stink
in that stomach, and only had a heart
for the plant that gave him shade.

Of all the people, I link hearts with the prophets,
how great Thou art, and how great the journey,
the message.
How great the need and great the desire.
But like Jonah, how I’m spit out upon the hot
earth, eyes opened to the boiling sun,
wondering about the who behind the why,
wnd is it worth it,
wnd where’s a leaf when you need one.

© 2022 by Ericka Clay


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