Joy – a poem by Jenna Wysong Filbrun

          In the upstairs room, the resurrected Christ
          is recognized by the wounds
          on his new-old body,
          still bearing the marks of pain.
                    (John 20:19-31)
God, of course, does not protect you
from anything, any more
than anyone else.
And atrocities abound everywhere.
It is spring.
The house down the road
blooms out in its purple
crocus daffodil carpet.
God is a slight heaviness
around your ears
in the quiet.
That is all.
In the early light,
the singing bloom,
is the long dark
and the frozen silence.
Having suffered
the kind of pain
that made you
wish for death,
you are always afraid
of the kind of pain
that made you
wish for death.
Joy knows this
and never pretends
it isn’t true.
You look around
at suffering –
An impossible question.
A deep cavern.
You go in because love goes in.
Someone is asking for a prayer.
The asking is the most beautiful prayer
you have ever heard.
Well below any low
you have ever been
lies pain like a seed
buried in the ground.
Deep down
where there is no light.
Where few seem to know
it exists.
But joy knows –
thanks to the long,
hard practice
of not pretending.
You go by the house
with the flowers
and marvel.
It is a gift
you can only accept
from deep
in the bare ground
of what also is.

Jenna Wysong Filbrun’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in publications such as Blue Heron Review, Crosswinds Poetry Journal, The Dewdrop, Snapdragon Journal, and Wild Roof Journal.  Her first full length collection of poems, Away, will release with Finishing Line Press in 2023. She is married to Mike, and they have two dogs, Oliver and Lewis.  Find her on Twitter @Jenna_W_Filbrun.

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