Excerpts From Personal Effects



Truth and REconciliation

Our country chose a middle way
of individual amnesty for truth.

– Archbishop Desmond Tutu

This man knows something
about healing. That the heart
must be torn open again
in front of compassionate witnesses.
That the accused must also step up
and reveal themself.
That no matter how high-pitched
the shrieks, how barren
the voice, everything must be
heard, everything must be
held, in the same room.

Just This

A friend says she thinks we’re not wired for this much intimacy, for knowing so much about so many lives. Last week I joined her in the group she runs, all the women survivors of violence: one-off randomness and deliberate consistent relentless assault. She is gentle in the room almost whispers and this is what she offers: a space for them to speak or not, to cry or not, to leave or not, to listen. It sounds cliché but the space for pain is underrated.

A voice in me was crying: this is what I always wanted my family to be, just this: a room and five people in it, and enough quietness to hold all the shrieking or all the fear or all the desire or all the love, a room with people in it.