It was a dream.

When I was little, I had a dream. We met my aunt at a place like McGilvery Hall and she took me up the steps and through a door. Inside was a cavernous straight-walled tunnel: cold shadows of echoing concrete. It was a long journey. I was afraid but delighted, surprised but hungry for the adventure as it came.

When I was little, I had a dream. I sat on the floor with my legs in a double-U and watched unfolding pictures in a wooden frame. In a drab drear room a man ran back and forth: door to window, window door. A giant cat met him every time and he couldn’t escape. Afraid, I couldn’t look away. I never forgot it.

One day I rode with my boss across campus. As we pulled into the lane that leads behind McGilvery Hall, he mentioned the tunnel that used to run from there to Kent Hall to Merrill.

It was not a lie. It was not a dream.

I sat at Professor’s Pub in Kent with my friend. A movie was projected on a sheet behind the bar, some black-and-white cheesefest not worth my attention. But the incredible shrinking man trapped in the dollhouse caught my eye.

It was not a dream. It was not a lie.

The kids of my generation agree

The kids of my generation agree

we aren’t free to question what’s passed down.

Allowed to make professions in a box

with locks containing papal writ,

we sit inside our heads and wonder

what’s under the floorboards of this holy place.

God is one. In self-abasement he accepted our evil, the very thing that we claim will send sinners to hell. The father didn’t smash a man with a hammer; our wounded lover ate his pain and reached back out to us. There was no justice, only forgiveness.

The kids of my generation agree

We aren’t free to ask who you really are.

We’re sorry if it hurts you, but we know

you flow in a moment’s change of eternal who-you-are

and you, never contained, will always wait one step behind

the mind that says you’ve disappeared.

Does it ever get easier?

“Does the life of faith ever get easier?” asked the student. “It must get easier as you move through life’s stages.”

The white-haired teacher laughed. “No, no. It only gets harder. Faith is a knife, and its job is to cut. Why would it stop cutting? That would mean it was dead. There’s always one more layer below the one that faith has just conquered, and some layers are tougher than others.”

“So this pain…”

“Do you want it or not?”

The Wedge

Not yet conscious, not yet human, but headed in that direction.

They worked you up in a glorious reeking haze, dulled senses unfeeling, and there you go. You were not planned, and neither was the act.

Can’t kick yet and can’t tell her you’ve come because at this point, she could just be late.

In eleven years, if you make it, you’ll earn the same reproductive rights to your own body that now drive a wedge between your mother’s interests and your own.

But for now, your mother says

FUCK YOU CHILD

You’re a nuisance and I hate you.

And god weeps in the atoms of the scalpels that slice you.