My childhood's spiritual education
was delivered through the vocabulary of persecution.
Our people were without nation.
We were one with all who sought asylum from oppression.
Our isolation was the guardian of our spiritual wealth.
The summer camp romance novel
of our Anabaptist fate was seductive,
raised up in a chorus of Negro spirituals
sung by white children who believed
these words of injustice and alienation lived too
in our confessions of mean kids at recess.
We were historically embedded underdogs
play-acting Moses' circular desert trek,
marching ourselves through fields until sweat ran
to become both more Hebrews-compassionate
and hungry enough for lukewarm chili
ladled onto melamine plates.
My child's heart suckled on intemperate tragedy,
savouring the fantastic tribulation of my body in a cage
hung from the steeple of Münster's church,
where the birds could pick clean my sacred bones.