A Beautiful Hallelujah
by Denise Ullem
Mistake, misstep, judgement, embarrassment.
Unfit, misfit, damaged. For years and years
I swept them, hid them
with broad swaths
under my proverbial rug.
A muted sherpa,
cowering under its weight
The secrets started gasping for air. For light.
An escape, hands held, heads tucked,
whispers in the shroud of night.
With courage rising,
the secrets and underground tributaries
escaped as salty tears and chopped exhales
with worried, backward glances over rounded shoulders,
my life’s story packed in tattered parcels,
Driven by some north star
which only they could see,
they followed their need to be free.
Steam rising on the morning winter pond
and I rose
I/they/we became bold.
I gathered them near and
spoke them in the raw sunlight.
Depression, uncertainty, fear.
Doubt, rage, anxiety.
Feet pounding in solidarity
we joined arms and stood tall. Proud.
Dancing in the wide swaths of air,
intoxicated with freedom, honor
glinting in the golden sun.
Silhouettes began to appear
inky black on paper.
Anointed by acceptance
words gained traction
and marched onto notebooks,
porous and soaking up
broad swaths of my heart.
Fears pulsed, dark swills of doubt.
Expert pundits launched their campaign:
What Will They Think.
Who Are You.
No One Cares.
I typed and typed and typed
my story stretching from years of cramped living.
The creak of the joints and the pulse of my fingers
and I told the fear mongers to
Each letter, a rebellion,
connecting to build each word
lain upon each word,
architecting sentences and
freedom and life.
Hard-lined borders between
you and me and them and us,
blurred and smudged and ceased.
Arms and hearts opened wide, pulling me close
their salve words
a beautiful Hallelujah:
Me too. Me too. Me too.
Denise Ullem is a writer whose work has appeared in Parents Magazine, Brain, Child Magazine and The Huffington Post. Her blog, Universal Grit, features essays on life, the nuances of being a woman and mother, and why depression can suck it. She lives in the Midwest with her husband and two children.