By Carol Park
At 4 a.m. on my bed I succumb.
That old and guttural hiss--
the demon of self-accusation—summons
me, and I fall deep
into an abandoned mine shaft
where midnight waters seep.
But then I come to listen to the spacious
Voice, the ever-present, ever-loving
Wisdom—not that prove-yourself,
fit in with others, must get-it-right
obsession—then my subterranean
Soul truly knows Love.
The Spirit throws a rope ladder.
My fingers clasp its coarse fibers
to climb up and out. Embraced--
joy in who I am, accepted
with what I’m not.
She points me to a staircase
for winding up immensity of
her giant tree, past gnarls, lines,
and furrows. I ascend past nests
birthing finch, crow, and sparrow alike.
They open beaks miniscule and long,
blunt and keen. I graze myself
on sharp points, but aloe
leaves bring balm. Songs of joy,
tenderness float round
the Tree of Life—I spiral up.
Carol Park’s homes range from suburbs to wilderness. Six years in Japan altered this California girl. Hiking, gardening, mentoring and reading bring joy. She teaches ESL, writes and involves herself in Christian worship and service. Her MFA comes from Seattle Pacific University. The Haight Ashbury Journal, Black Fox Literary, MiGoZine, Presence: A Journal of Catholic Poetry, The Cider Press Review, the Monterey Review, Viral Verse: Poetry of the Pandemic, and New Contexts: 2 and 3 have published her work.