A Labyrinth in Midtown
four days before the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima
August 2015, by Chance Chambers
I’ve never let go of anything. Napkin starship blueprints, pink guitar picks from 1993,
my mother’s voicemail greeting from this side of the ether. It’s all there among
my unpacked ruins, static in the flickering breath of surrendered streetlights.
Eyes on the grass, shoes between the bricks, follow the concentric circles
and forget the mosquitoes. Forget tires on asphalt and summer-stained
alleyways, where my mind leans and waits for October. Lose
myself to grey chapel stone, cicada buzz and broken sky.
Forget what I said yesterday. Forget the book
I’m not writing. Forget the friend I haven’t
called and the song perfect for this scene:
1, 5, 4, 5—like “Crimson and Clover.”
Two-thirds of this walk puts the sun
on my face and arms. The rest is
shade, where I hide from the
city and its God, from its
stale, drunk breath that
burned my lungs,
left me dizzy
as a 47-year
finds a rhythm:
breathe in—step, step;
breathe out—step, step.
Cradled by trees, I’m cooled
by a leaf canopy, and I call this God.
But my skin has never known the heat
of a hibakusha morning, and my vision is clear:
no shadow flash-tattooed onto the back of my eyelids.
God doesn’t meet me on a grassy, round path. God blinks,
and a 70-year wind shakes August leaves. God blinks, and
every clock stops at 8:16. God blinks, and I count steps and bricks.
Thanks Chance for sharing the beautiful poem with us. Yes, there is a labyrinth in mid-town on the campus of Scarritt Bennett Center. Come and join us for the Labyrinth Stone Blessing Ceremony on Saturday, September 12 at 4:30 pm.
Joyce D. Sohl has been Laywoman-in-Residence since 2009 as a full-time volunteer. She retired as CEO of United Methodist Women in 2004. She is the author of 4 books, a teacher, retreat leader, writer and non-professional musician. Here at the Center her work is in the area of Spirituality & the Arts with such programs as Tuesdays in the Chapel, Vespers & All That Jazz, Poet’s Corner, and quarterly retreats and art exhibits.