“Kitty looked into his face, which was so close to her own, and long afterwards — for several years after — that look, full of love, to which he made no response, cut her to the heart with an agony of shame.” ~ Leo Tolstoy
“This early experience of mis-attunement, of the mother’s failure to empathize with her baby’s emotions and to mirror them back (perhaps because she’s depressed, self-absorbed or overwhelmed by her own emotional difficulties) — this misattunement produces shame. Shame as the result of unrequited love, if you will.” ~ Joseph Burgo
She came up for air,
my intestines churning, and a heavy
heart. My friend and I, silenced
in deep greeting, gave her
space she’d been craving.
Now that I know, I can say
I’ve often heard her knocking
belowdecks, iron-clad, deep
in the cold, dank hold.
It’s not fair, she storms. If I
pictured her at all in my
inner salvage operations, it was
as a dreamer or a green heron
shy, cautious, beautiful
balance on a railing overlooking the water,
all of the safe exits plotted. Alert, hungry,
focused on survival. So I am swept
off my seat when she shouts
and wails, rages. I feel pain
in my stomach, and now my temples
ache. The green heron slips quietly
out of sight right before two great
blue herons battle for fishing rights.
No one functions in this upset.
The herons hiding, flying off
or standing ground. No one is fed.
The scarcity is consuming us,
even as a big bass jumps and plops.
Quiet now. Let’s look
in the deeps. Let’s see what
will nourish us all. Let’s give voice to the
silenced things we’ve accumulated
inside. Let’s finally be fair.