Steve Gehrke

The Hole

Crystal Dialogue 11 by Lava Ghayas

When I did dialysis at home, they drilled

a hole in the bottom of one of my walls,

through which they ran the tubes

that carried the water used during treatments

from the bathroom to the machine and back,

and when, a year later, I started dialyzing

in the clinic again, they took away the machine

and the tubing, but the hole remains,

like the place in an abandoned house

where a cable once ran, and some days

you can see me lie down on the carpet

next to that hole, and whisper into it

all the bitternesses and disappointments

of my life, and I know that God listens

on the other side of that hole, waiting

indulgently for me to finish, like a man

hearing his own story told back to him,

and sometimes I ask him if I am the one

who built the hole, and he says, no

but you are the one who built the wall,

and sometimes I ask him why I must suffer

and he says, to end your suffering,

and sometimes I ask him if he will repair

the hole, and—because he is merciful

and because there is no other way

for me to speak with him—he tells me no.


About the writer:
Steve Gehrke has published three books of poetry, most recently Michelangelo’s Seizure, which was selected for the National Poetry Series. His awards include an NEA, a Pushcart, and a Lannan Literary Redidency. He teaches at the University of Nevada-Reno.

Image: Crystal Dialogue 11 by Lava Ghayas. Acrylic on canvas. 48 x 60 inches. By 2020. By permission.