Sunday, July 9, 2023

Native tongue, draft no. 5


God’s children should not swear.

Saltwater and fresh water do not mix.

Such vulgarities had stopped

the moment I was reborn.

I’ve won that battle, thought I,

tongue renewed.

Only later to return

like an old haunt,

symptom of a soul turned blue.


But today? Today, I swore accidentally,

out of happiness.

Hell, which is not much believed in

but often named,

spilled from my lips in a moment of joy,

like a slip a child makes

when it says a word it doesn’t even know,

or when it says a wrong word,

learning how to speak.


And I knew God knew

my heart.

If Jesus can turn water into wine

my word, my accident, my slip

does not mean I am going

to the place I said,

does not mean I don’t believe

the place I said exists,

doesn’t mean I like that this is true--

though I read if good does not hate evil

then it is not truly good,

so I know it must exist,

because there is too much evil

for heaven to have room for it.


Yes, God will forgive me for saying

that word when it slipped in,

even if you will not.

And what’s even sweeter,

I don’t care if you heard it or not.

I think when he heard it,

he might have laughed, too.

That’s about as silly of a thing to say

as it sounds to you.

Yet, I don’t think Jesus would die for me

unless it was true.


Today, perhaps for the first time

in my whole life,

and I have lived a while,

I was learning to speak love.

I can’t believe I’ve not spoken it before.

I can’t believe I’m speaking it now.

Part of me fears I’m stealing lines.

But then, aren’t all prayers plagiarized?


Jesus, yours is a name

which could be claimed

forever and ever

and no sin be spoken,

if the Spirit lives inside

even just a smidge or token,

even if one is broken--

maybe especially if one is broken.