You want to resist
Oh yes. You resist the teaching, you do.
Hadn’t they insisted at the little meeting
Hadn’t they insisted
(Oh, but I think you know what I mean.)
Hadn’t they shared with you, trusted you
Been kind to you, for joining us may be your redemption
And yet, it won’t.
Because you won’t be redeemed.
Your head seems lowered and your eyes shifting
You were asked a question and your leader, sadly
Smiles. He would be happy if recruits
Could be trusted. But they can’t.
Can’t yet. Can’t advance yet.
His fatherly love is not bandied
It is a thing hard won
When you came in, your gait…
Your walk reluctant, your sitting in your chair
Attitudinous, disappointing, heavy.
You make noise.
You do not sit erect and answer with alacrity
You hide your stubborn worldliness
Thou hast not put this sin away from thee
You, then. It may be you don’t really belong
Worse, you are rather dishonest
All along, he murmurs, I suppose
…been that one’s purpose.
It grieves the leader, speaking louder, turning to them all again
Grieves him, but he admits, sometimes, yes, the envious…
Sometimes, yes, we find mere hirelings…
Of the enemy, infiltrators
He glances right and left
His two lieutenants nod
Sometimes, yes, betrayers…
But the loyal members, after all
I don’t blame them. They feel strongly.
Now, do you love me? No, you don’t
And here I’ve come to speak to you myself.
(2018, Stephanie Foster)