Kemmer Anderson, author of Songs of Bethlehem: Nativity Poems, has taught for 40 years at the McCallie School in Chattanooga, Tenn.
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Crossing the Jabbok
Unsure of my crossing, I stand and wait at the Jabbok
In a wrestling rhyme of rapids. The waters from the river
Rise around my fears and blur my eyes. I am uncertain
Where my footfall will land. My sandal slides turning on rocks.
I watch others cross ahead of me with obedience,
While I drop back to the crisis I find lurking
In the shadows of my soul. A drought-coward spirit
Dries up the will and burns through my identity
Destroying the brittle nature of my grip on this land
That waits on the other side of the river.
I am stalking through the darkness of my soul
For the person waiting beyond my dreams. The twin
Shadow of a birthright slips through my memory.
My father’s blessing evaporates in my mother’s maneuvers of facts.
My brain is a soup of deception: my mind is a sheep blind
Without a shepherd to open the gate. Unvoiced by silence,
I wait, unable to cross, paralyzed and unprepared without a prayer.
The void of doubt drifts into night where demons perch
In my dreams foaming at the ford of the river in my head.
Poetry: Mary of Nazareth 2015