Spring 1990, Vol.42 No. 1, pp. 60-61

Megan McKenna: Visitation II

One Woman's Rage: Another Psalm to the Name in Humility

Newly met friends
a humble Salvadoran woman --
I helped her change
out of her stiff dirty clothes
then take a shower
she was shaking
then I saw
blue welts on the belly of this pregnant woman
first rage now grief
I am ashamed again of being
Goliath moving south leaving armor and waste
as the old glaciers moved swallowing all in their wake,
a wave on the land.
We practice apartheid in the Americas
but we still call ourselves David
and go on dancing with glee
now on the ark of injustice.
We teach terror, defend evil glibly
are pragmatists with a club.
Our god demands blood sacrifices
and all the booty of war.
Our myth, our mandate
destroy in the name of democracy
We now have our own holocaust for history.

Afterwards, when she left
I threw up in helplessness
Then in a psalm of distress cried out --
O God, we are mercenary angels
licking only our own narcissistic wounds
our innocence is irreplaceable
to whom do I confess? what good remorse?
what words show forth the shame of my complicity?
I belong to this country of Philistines
and I pray for a slingshot to take us down and leave us in the dust --
And then in death I will await the epiphany of the poor.
They judge as will the Son of Man, weighing us
within the hand of their want and our greed
for they have suffered unjustly, unduly
and their mercy, like yours, is true.

For now, and until all I do are acts to repay her kindness to me
penitence and alms in remembrance of a woman
who trusted me, her enemy --
named Elena
who smiled and touched my face when she saw
my distress at her old pain.
And I trembled. Today I learned the rabbit's fear,
the wolf's silence at the smell of man, the deer's swift timidity
and now I take my stand with all the small creatures of this earth
the children, the ones widowed by war, the refugee, the ones who
cleave to Divinity knowing all too much of humans' kind.
May our sins end.
My after-thought: oh may that child mend and grow up to be El Salvador.

I take refuge in the memory: she hummed in the shower, standing in warm water. She blessed my small house with grace.