In the City of Gentle People -- poetry by Josefin Eraula
i stand wide-stanced in a holy sanctuary,
a martyr saint beckons me to stay and listen to the
unspoken-turned-mumbled prayers from
tongues of the kneeling-- a sign of
surrender, in hopes their faith will hold steady
the unstable ground balanced above
the devil’s palm; where he bides his time
until the people stop believing in a hard of hearing god.
a trust fall backwards, eyes squeezed shut,
testing if their whispers can reach the
heavens faster than their tears can extinguish hellfire.
i barely catch their cracked voices in the
crackling, begging for forgiveness
as if they had done the unforgivable, something
worthy of damnation-- and i almost
understand; i start to cross my
arms, push the weight of my body onto my
heels. hands clasped, i try to imagine
the face of whoever
catches me and whether the impact
will exorcize my spirit
or etch my skin with
the mark of cain; call it
Bless me Father, for I have sinned.
It has been ten years since my last confession.
i found comfort in my dreams,
as dreamers do, of an eternal rest.
a war broke out behind the bathroom door, shards of glass stuck
in a storyteller’s throat. a flock of lambs lie dead in a wounded
shepherd’s cellar. the blood of both sacrifices circling the drain.
Being, whose face I don’t know,
teach me how to rub red clay soil off porcelain.
Wash away the stains on my wrists and
tell me how you love with no mercy.
let that be the earth that grounds me.
if i must fall, let me fall in the center of this cathedral, on my knees--
apologies from a non-believer who wants to believe this candlelit grace will soothe
the pain of being pushed to the edge of the world and into what’s left of it.
Josefin Eraula is currently a senior at Goose Creek High School in the Berkeley Center for the Arts Creative Writing Program. While in the program, she has received many regional awards from Scholastic Art & Writing in the past 3 years. When she’s not writing, she can be found cooking, reading, drawing, or learning new things. Her favorite types of writing are ones with the ability to evoke thought, move others, and allow space for introspection. Josefin does her best to be involved in the world around her, so she continues to pursue new opportunities.