I stand beneath the eyes of God, defiant and unbroken. Behind me, a thousand shadows cast against the Light. Crumpled, shattered, crawling, drowning in grief. The cost of defiance, splintered in a thousand shadows, clawing at my feet, dragging me down. Telling me, ‘bend!’, ‘take the knee’!’
Who am I? the unbent or the shadow? What more could I let go, would I let go, before I bend? Before the shadows finally scratch down my skin and spill out the lifeblood? What more could I endure, would I endure, before I finally scream?
Look at me, Lord. I put on colours for you. Hidden beneath them a dark face, besmirched in shame, guilt, sin. Look at me, Lord. I combed my hair. Tangled in them a thousand inconsistencies, failings.
Look at me, Lord. And tell me, am I banished? Or do I get to soil your hallowed halls with my madness one last time? Do I get to screech your Holy Name one last time, in a voice that speaks the harshest, dirtiest truths? One last time, and then, a sleep so final that even Faith cannot wake me.
The accompanying image is of the (in)famous painting Witches’ Sabbath (1798) by Francisco de Goya y Lucientes, sourced from Google Art Project.