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  • Writer's pictureCeleste Boudreaux

Shitty Shame

Updated: May 2

Shame is shit

From toddlerhood we are taught

to hold it, control it

to flush it into oblivion

Yet, try as we might

we are never free of it


Shame is contagious

It is passed down, parent to child

in cutting words and

explosions of rage

and some shamed children

desperate to reclaim their worth

humiliate smaller victims

spitting names that become

barnacles on the soul


Shame is inherited

through perennial generations

the gene that keeps on giving

a legacy of never enough


How much of our finite lifeblood

is spilled on fighting and striving

to prove that little voice

the echo from long ago

finally

once and for all

wrong


Even if we hide it away

in a plastic bag within a box

far back in the corner

of a closet shelf

in a rarely visited room

its power is not diminished

It only finds new ways

to jerk our strings

snaking through vents to

provoke odd overreactions

that puzzle and upend


Shame will persist

It takes the courage

of a spelunker

to go within

to find the bag

within the box

to expose it

to the light, the air

to cup it tenderly

in our hands

and extend to it

the paradox of love

to weep the unwept tears

to trace its provenance

and at last in the skin

of the adult in the room

to forgive the shamers

for the sake of their

own wounds


For there is in the earth

an everyday miracle

a mysterious alchemy

in which dung makes

the richest compost

and grows a garden of

sweet and generous beauty

that fattens our withering soul

and maybe even blesses

a lonely world


And that is

the only real

redemption


by Celeste Boudreaux, March 2023


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