I have seen Medusa. I have slipped into the yellow eyes and flicking tongues of a thousand serpents, I have been paralyzed by a gaze that reeks of cruelty, I have spun my wings against the bars of her fingers, frantic beats that fade to frail half-whirrings and then, to silence.
I don't want to fight. I want to curl into whatever warmth is left of myself and let the granite shell fill up my ears with silence, encase my slowly dying body in its shield impenetrable.
The world outside is burning. But here, alone with the few shallow breaths I have left, I am sealed from the screams. Protected from the idiocy that spurs me to anger, from the guilt that draws me into misery. My sluggish heart, caught in a thickening stream of blood, exhales a final plea.
I pray for a crack in the stone. I pray He erodes the pride and hatred that have come in with the tide of my selfishness, a mountain built by a flow far greater than its ebb, from which I casually dismiss no less than six billion into insignificance. I pray He peels back the layers of disappointment, I pray He sheds the snakeskin of my fear.
I pray He teaches me to love. I pray if you hate me, I feel it slide off like rainwater on duck feathers. I pray if you hurt me, I fold you into the gentle blanket of my heart. I pray for mercy instead of judgement, for grace instead of self-righteousness, for a gentle spirit instead of an American one.
I pray He makes me soft. I pray if I die, I bleed from the wound that broke my tender, still-pliant skin. I pray if I die, it will not be for nothing. I pray if I die, I die for you.