Serving House: A Journal of Literary Arts
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SHJ Issue 18
Spring 2018


by Mel Takahara

—in memory of Leelah Alcorn
Lord, why was this little girl born
a little boy?
to haunt us with the image
of her leaping into traffic
to get out of life
where did such hatred emanate
to push her into the path of that semi?

please, Lord, say it wasn’t from you
though they’re all saying it was
her parents and counselors and church people
way more than two
all pointing at you for cover
to wash their hands and consciences
in your blood

please, Lord, say you didn’t tell them to do it

say you did not plant and nurture her self-loathing
methodically, strategically, Biblically, clinically, diabolically
consummately blocking every exit, extinguishing all hope
concentrating a small universe of pain
to an unbearable point of action

please, Lord, may it be that as she was hurled
into headlights, into the Tao, into the place of fishes,
into the vast place of all transitions

you were there to catch her in your embrace

—Previously published in the San Diego Poetry Annual 2017-18 (Garden Oak Press, in association with the San Diego Entertainment & Arts Guild [SDEAG]; February 2018); appears here with permissions from the poet and the publisher


SHJ Issue 18
Spring 2018

Mel Takahara’s

work appears in Magee Park Poets Anthology, Shenandoah, and Hawaii Review. He received the 1970 Ernest Hemingway Award and served as a Master Poet Trainer with the Hawaii State Foundation. He now lives in Escondido, California.

“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury