the gift

my mother gave me a gift
wrapped in red and gold
and she called it love
but when I opened it
there was only religion
so I learned how to serve
   to worship at the feet
of god and man

no hand to lift me out
of this righteous lie
   this gutter where I
hung my head in holy
humbleness and she said
this would give me
everlasting life

and all I wanted was death
   I prayed, begged, for
mercy from my suffering
for I was just a sinner
who would always pay
for the sins of all the
women before me

then I found the gift of
awareness and I rose
to the level of my mind
and beyond    and flew away
to all the places I’d
never imagined

Maureen Sexton (Western Australia)

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