There is No Place to Hide

Fences

We exist
only at the perimeter
of our minds.

Huddled near the fence,
we steal glances
at the diamond-shaped reality
beyond our grasp.

That’s the reality that looks
so very like our own,
except that it’s inhabited by
someone we don’t know.

There he sits.
There he waits—
in perfect peace.

We see his lips move,
as he forms one word.

But we shun his greeting,
pretending we neither see nor hear.

We stand.
We stare.
We despair.

The fence is too high to climb,
but just around the corner
is a gate, and it has no lock.

Still we stand, shuffling awkwardly.

There he sits.
There he waits—
in perfect peace.

Then, one day,
one of us takes a step.
A step—not shuffling, not fidgeting.

The real deal, and we all saw it.

The stepper looks at us,
daring one of us to speak,
and is met with astonished, frightened eyes.

Finally she cries, “It was one little step, for pity’s sake!”

But she doesn’t take it back,
and everything has changed.

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3 thoughts on “There is No Place to Hide

  1. A powerful poem, both spiritually and poetically: the image of one who waits at the gate reminds me of the father in the parable of the prodigal son [we think it’s about the prodigal or about his irreconcilable brother, but it’s actually about the incredible love of a father]; daily & confidently the father goes to the gate to watch for a sign that is son is returning, and finally when he sees him, he runs [in middle`eastern culture old men NEVER run! He has to lift up the skirts of his robe to run displaying what is underneath] he runs to welcome the boy home . . . An extraordinary story from an extraordinary story`teller . . . Loved your poem!

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    1. Thank you so much, Peter, for taking the time to read and comment. The prodigal son story keeps coming into my life, and I find different ways to interpret it, but I’ve never really thought about it from the perspective of the father. THANK YOU for offering me that. There are a few books I’ll have to go back and read (and think about differently as I do): “Peace Like a River” by Leif Enger, “Atticus” by Ron Hansen, and “The Father’s Tale” by Michael C. O’Brien. Oh, and of course, I’ll have to look at Rembrandt’s painting with fresh eyes.

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