I am a mute and silent prisoner
bound beneath ebony ocean depths
dull obsidian within me
Lips, shackled, tongue, tethered
and waxen in complexion
from lack of light and of redemption
There is no song here.
I bite my lip, seeking some sensation
savor the copper tang of deprivation
Pennies on my tongue, bitter
Marbles in my mouth, muffled
Anvil on my ankles, leaden
Tears tangle in my hair
Hope mangled by my fear
Can holiness reach even here?
He says yes.
The sky brightly beckons
Would I dare rise?
I yearn toward yellow but my fear fetters
the wicked waves thrust me deeper
send me tumbling
yet I clamor, kick, and climb
Rising, soaring, ascending, roaring
For truth is not a tether.
Sin-soaked and vice-choked,
I break the surface
I confess the bitter briny sea
And gulp instead deliverance
Breath now my only boundary.
The taste of mercy, honey-sweet begins to flood
an ocean of depravity, brackish, wild and stinking
The sun sways like a daffodil above me
showers silken warmth upon me
sparks worship deep within me
This is glory.
My lungs and heart are full to bursting
My mouth, once desert, no longer thirsting
My first song is surrender
I am free.
The phrase “Breath my only boundary” was inspired by “Breath as a Boundary,” the title of a portrait by Kenturah Davis.
Cover image by Jonatán Becerra