“Attempting Incarnation”
by Lucy Kidwell

2022 Poetry of the Sacred Contest Runner-Up

These days: stained by sunlight’s
yellow teeth, bleached

like the corner of old photographs.
Then —always —the long walk back,

the firm pitpats of dry earth celebrating
each heavy footfall, raising,

dustily, raising. And I am afraid
there is nothing of myself maintained.

Today the photo’s edges fray, we sway like weeds
again. Lately I have been trying

to be anything other than infinite, to be
the opposite of expand. Because — what is God

if not the need to be murdered,
to be bound to this body, born

bloodstained, again. You say: submit
to that which imposes, bow to the

branches that writhe outside,
much less confused, much more rooted,

because we only want the mug that stains
the table, ringed, the steam to shower

every morning, the bones not built to last,
the bodies broken, to break again, remember:

how did it feel to be crucified,
to see your mother cry, to

cry out—My God, why do this to us?
Why do this to yourself?

Photo by AARN GIRI on Unsplash

Lucy Kidwell is a first year law student at Notre Dame Law School and graduate of Indiana University, Bloomington. She is passionate about the intersection of technology, spirituality, and law, working with the nonprofit Fairplay to keep kids spiritually sound in this digital age. Talk to her about bluegrass music, poetry, or Thomas Merton any day!