inventing sin

i just found this poem amid a pile of odds and ends, and thought i’d post it here. makes ya think.

Inventing Sin

-George Ella Lyon

God signs to us

we cannot read

She shouts

we take cover

She shrugs

and trains leave

the tracks

Our schedules! we moan

Our loved ones

God is fed up

All the oceans she gave us

All the fields

All the acres of steep seedful forests

And we did what

Invented the Great Chain

of Being and

the chain saw

Invented sin

God sees us now

gorging ourselves &

starving our neighbors

starving ourselves &

storing our grain

& She says

I’ve had it

you cast your trash

upon the waters-

It’s rolling in

You stuck your fine fine finger

into the mystery of life

to find death

& you did

you learned how to end

the world

in nothing flat

Now you come crying

to your mommy

Send us a miracle

Prove that you exist

Look at your hand, I say

Listen to your scared heart

Do you have to haul the tide in

sweeten the berries on the vine

I set you down

a miracle among miracles

You want more

It’s your turn

You show me

evening

My fork –
Whose decorous, correct and polite use
Had been taught to me as a child, and
Which has severed me well these past
50 years –
Now slips a few minutes into the meal-
requiring me to set it down and rest my hand
lest I drop some bit of dinner onto
my shirt or pants or the dining room carpet or,
if the god’s are smiling on me this evening
back into my bowl-
My hand get tired to the point where it almost seems better
to stop eating completely than to continue to struggle
to keep the food going where it is supposed the go.

I think if those pictures in the disabled-people catalogs of
Huge fat chunky forks and spoon, designed for people
One of which I fear I will soon become who
Cannot get food from plate to mouth any by any other means,
Or worse not even on their own but
Only through the patient assistance of some other.

I maneuver my plate, dinner finished to be best of my ability,
Onto the kitchen counter and,
if I am feeling like a lucky Clint Eastwood punk,
rinsed in the sink and placed into the dishwasher,
And gather everything I can think of that I might need for the evening-
cell phone, house phone, which,
if it were to ring, I would not be able to cross the
20 yards to the kitchen to answer before it disconnected
note pad, pen, book, maybe a bottle of beer or glass of wine,
ipod and headphones for when the book
becomes incomprehensible-
glasses, tv remote, evening meds box-
And load it all into pants pockets and the pockets of my walker,
Inevitably forgetting something vital –
And stagger over to my living room chair, where I intend to spend
The rest of my evening,
barring any need to make a “mad dash,” such as it is
to the bathroom-
or to let the dog in and out, and in and out, and in and out-

And settle, with a sigh and oomph, hoping not to have to rise
Until it is time to mount the stairs and make my
first attempt at sleep.

I read my book until it becomes too heavy,
Not unlike my dinner fork-
To hold. Then comes the tv remote and the evening news,
Followed by a movie or that ascent of the stairs and bed.

I read about a woman drifting away into
Alzheimer’s Disease who she wished she could trade
The horrors of losing herself within herself
For the horrors of cancer because, as she said,
With cancer, at least she’d have something to fight.

While surely Alzheimer’s and Multiple Sclerosis have
Vastly different outcomes,
Their slow and inexorable progressions are similar enough
That I can understand this woman’s desire to trade her
Disease which is treatable with medication that
Only have the effect of possibly slowing the decline
For another that has known and understood treatments,
Perhaps a more palatable final outcome,
And gives her something to fight against.