. Be Gone an angry teenage daughter to her absconded mother What irritant incited you to leave And not come back while I was left to grieve? Was it the man you wed, the girl you bore, Your dispositions? Tell me: Why? What for? I learned to live without you and adjust. When you aspired to renovate my trust My soul recoiled at something I detest: You came and left; that is what you do best! Do not return! Do not come near! I’ve learned I do not need you here! You want me to believe you care for me, A claim refuted by reality! Though some believe, my own conviction fails. When all is done, the same design prevails. You might secure his trust but never mine, And if you win his confidence, that’s fine, But I cannot abide your status quo— The role you play, as though you did not go. Do not return! Do not come near! I’ve learned I do not need you here! My door is closed, your distance perseveres, And though you pacify my father’s fears His vain attempts to mollify my rage Will ever fail. My wrath you can’t assuage. But did I hear your vow to rise above To be more wise to those you claim to love?” I fear that promise is not so sublime, So read my lips; I’ll say it one last time: Do not return! Do not come near! I’ve learned I do not need you here! . . Your Agony Is Mine What Jesus might say to a teenager who maliciously cuts herself I bore your healing lashes on my back To rescue you from your condemning hands. Dear child, do you believe you can attack Your agony by etching your own bands? Your agony is mine and not your own. Do not give in to alien demands; Do not deface my image or my throne And force you to a heartless cul de sac. So I’ll cut to the quick: I, Jesus, wept When they told me that Lazarus had died, And why did I say he had only slept Yet prior to the miracle, I cried? And no one understood. I cried for them; I cry for you. I’m sitting by your side To dull the edge of desolate mayhem, And further chiseled wounds to intercept. They knew not who I was. I ask: Do you? I slashed the grief wherein they were detained To show them I embody what is true: Their agony was mine! They ascertained When I was through, that I had borne their grief They knew not how. The torture-stake remained, To cut my flesh, not yours. For your relief I died: my blood, not yours, poured out for you. Forego the cul de sac and face the pain And leave my image lovely and uncut. Have done with vain illusions inhumane; I own your pain, your horror I’ll rebut. Hand me your weapons; break your status quo; And now, dear child, etch not one novel rut. I rescued you before your birth, you know, I bore your gashes, terror, and disdain. . . Jeff Kemper has been a biology teacher, biblical studies instructor, editor, and painting contractor. He lives in York County, Pennsylvania.