Apology for the Divine Masculine

“And the ship, the black freighter,

disappears out to sea, and on it is me.”


Wetlands become one with the rising gulf

as oil rigs drink the earth’s secret juices

and phallic man-made things do other rapey things

to things to which we have ascribed yonic features

and so forth in a pastiche of sexes assigned

to things that never asked not to be sexless.

Does Mother Earth apologize when she

retaliates, swallowing swamp towns

and eating away at the foundations

of coastal cities, as my mother made

my sister and me apologize to our

abuser if ever we fought back?

If a drop of water fell

for each time I apologized for no reason

(besides that I grew up Baptist, believed

that God-on-Earth was tortured so God-up-There

would forgive me for being what He made me),

I’d sail across a sea of sorries,

beg mercy for reaching the shore,

and fall into the arms of the first

brute to excuse me for loving him.

Once, a middle-aged sorceress told me I’d never find love

unless I wrote an apology to the divine masculine for always

expecting the worst of him, and I told her, honey, not until he

writes me one for always proving me right. Once, a friend

told me that apologizing was my most feminine trait, as if

I weren’t cooking dinner in heels and a backless dress, as if

femininity were skin I’d like to shed, and I said I apologized

for all men who wouldn’t do the same, except, no, how

could I apologize for something I’d been assigned—

male, boy, man, him—but never really been?

If Mother Earth covers her face

in a veil of liquid blue shame

for what we’ve done to her

then I will not be sorry

it was her language,

not his, I learned.