Giving the Husk

by Steven Wingate

If I hew to your word
++++++++++++++++ and give of myself
what then is left? The husk
of a dry, unsatisfying tamale, or the shell
of a disappointing sunflower seed
++++++ too small and flavorless
++++++ to please the eater?

The eater is you: Let there be
++++++++++++++++ no mistaking this.
All tamales and sunflower seeds
all varieties of food
representing all varieties of people
flow to you
tributaries seeking their intended ocean
and will be judged
++++++++++++++++ fit or unfit to please you.

++++++(Our kind once knew this
++++++ and must learn this again.)

If I hew to your word
++++++++++++++++ and give of myself
++++++++++++++++ and am still found wanting
I will weep and gnash teeth
away from your light
and call to you that day

praying you’ll strip off my husk
so I’ll finally offer the self beneath it
to a purpose I can’t understand
but must trust
++++++++++++++++ and hoping this
++++++++++++++++ is what satisfies you
more than sweetness or savor.