Imago Dei

We cannot help but be students 
of our fathers’ disciplines, 

                       mine an avid disciple 
                       of scripture and royalty. 

What else can I confess? 
That I was a child? I carved myself 

                       into the civil shape of a knife. 
                       Pared until only the edge remained. 

I killed things because I could. 
Magnifying glass and the sun 

                       and the silent crawling things that 
                       could not fight back. 

That had no choice but to only 
hope for mercy. Unable themselves 

                       to beg. I confess. I was desperate 
                       to know that I was not alone. Every day 

we are made once more in the image of God. 
Every day God asks, Cruelty again? 

                       And every day we say, Oh Lord of Heaven, 
                       please, yes, yes. Cruelty again. 

Copyright © 2024 by Nora Hikari. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 8, 2024, by the Academy of American Poets.