“North American Time, VIII”
By Adrienne Rich
Sometimes, gliding at night
in a plane over New York City
I have felt like some messenger
called to enter, called to engage
this field of light and darkness.
A grandiose idea, born of flying.
But underneath the grandiose idea
is the thought that what I must engage
after the plane has raged onto the tarmac
after climbing my old stairs, sitting down
at my old window
is meant to break my heart and reduce me to silence.
There are a lot of wonderful things about working with queer youth – wonderful things! They are creative, funny, and self-aware, with excellent b.s. meters. It’s incredible to be able to walk with them as they begin to articulate who they are to the world around them.
There are also some tough things about working with queer youth. There are some nights at group when I hear things that I can’t even begin to process. I’ve had to work through the difference between carrying someone’s trauma (or even holding it), and offering a space for someone to safely share the trauma they’ve been carrying.
Anyway, this poem frequently comes to mind. It seemed worth sharing.