by Kelly Pelton

Once you see this, you cannot un-see it.
Once you climb out of the polluted pond
of prejudiced abuse and wash off the gunk,
shouts of swimmers calling you to respond

and return to them in their comfortable muck,
you sidle away, half-hearted at first,
not sure of yourself but feeling lighter,
holding your breath 'til your lungs almost burst,

exhaling relief when you're farther away,
the voices fading save one still small in you,
the voice of God now with no competition,
guiding your steps into territory new.

You no longer doubt your leaving the pond
though it was your world, long-lived and immense;
you walk in peace on the shores of God's ocean,
your journey of faith sparing no expense.