The Imperfect Peace
by Susan Cushman
O'Connor said it was Christ-haunted,
My home, the South.
Maybe that's why
I can't escape His hold on me,
Like Jacob, who wrestled with the angel.
Sometimes I want to run away,
From my roots,
From my God,
But neither will let me go,
And for that I am, at long last, grateful.
The angry child tries to escape
His father's embrace,
And fights against
His mother's love
Until, exhausted, he collapses in her bosom.
That's where I find myself today,
At rest in the arms
Of Christ and the South,
Having at long last
Buried the sword and accepted the imperfect peace.
Susan Cushman has eight published essays, one of which was a finalist in the Santa Fe Writers Project's 2007 Literary Awards. She is working on a spiritual memoir about growing up in the South, based on her essay, "Jesus Freaks, Belly Dancers and Nuns," which will be part of the second volume of All Out of Faith: Southern Women on Spirituality, published by the University of Alabama Press in the fall of 2010. She will be a presenter at the 2009 Southern Women Writers Conference at Berry College in Rome, Georgia, September 24-26, where she will read her published essay, "Are These My People?" The icon of Christ, the Bridegroom, is also Susan's work. Susan blogs at penandpalette-susan cushman.