My soul must be crooked –
not curved – I mean. It must
have angles and open boxes,
not fissures, cracks, or splits,
but myriad unclosed cubes.

For as round as my universe is,
for all the atmosphere and vaporous aura,
for the spheres of planets and bright balls of gas
shining around my sky, my soul must have

My windows fit into hollow columns
in which they are slid up and down.
The columns allow for crevices on the sill
and there collect all the bits of ground and air
thrown at the house as it stands in the weather.

Over the years the dirty stuff turns to muck
and the muck hardens. So I soften it with water
and wipe out the black soil, brown pine needles,
white-ish bird droppings and iridescent fly carcasses,
flinging it all into the yard below.

This is stubborn work. I use a thick, strong knife,
and soft cotton swabs, and yet some triangles
of muck remain. The clean sill shines and looks like
beginning. The tiny corners look

There is a smooth, curvaceous love
inside my soul. Yet, it lives within
some flat walls, a free-will-construction
I don’t quite understand,
and even though I let
Christ’s waterfall
pour and power out
the muck,
and even though I shine
a new beginning,
and even though I take
my corners
collect the muck
that divides,
and traps.

I know that smooth curvaceous love
is Christ’s. I must listen for it. Ask him to fill in my
corners, to round me out, make my soul spherical,
like the innumerable cellular structures of my body,
like the ever-advancing curve of time and space,

let my unclosed cubes take on
the elliptical pathways of planets,
protecting love from my mired,
messy corners, letting love sail
beyond my edges

and swoop back,
giving and receiving
in a bolstered, mysterious
I will some day understand.

“Confession is a beautiful act of great love.   Only in confession can we go in as sinners with sin and come out as sinners without sin.” ~ Blessed Teresa of Calcutta


  1. Cynthia says:

    Love the opening stanza!!! and that your “soul must have corners” in the next! really nice to compare soul to structures of architecture. The smooth curvaceous love and Christ’s love the same is wonderful. The stubborn cleaning, scraping of dirt is really felt….very good detail…my hands ache just reading. Asking Christ to fill in your corners and round you out is couched in the architecture nicely. The ending is fitting..what do we understand really about our “free will construction.” Nice tie in to the architectural again. This piece seems so different from your others….maybe because it is longer? Very exploring and growing!!!!

  2. amysecrist says:

    Thank you for your time and thoughtfulness in commenting, Cindy. Your architectural observations are insightful — I didn’t realize how the poem was working in that direction. I think this poem is different because it is longer (I gave an effort at sustaining a metaphor — very hard work for me!! It takes so much stamina!), and also because I allowed it some more room to breathe… (It breaks from the structure and then returns to it.) I think sometimes a poem creates the structure and other times the structure creates the poem – there is an interplay there in the creation. I also allowed myself to write in a way that was closer to prose, I think (at least within the five-line stanzas) after reading “Paradoxes and Oxymornons” by John Ashbery. Many blessings to you!

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