by Rainer Maria Rilke
from Rilke's Book of Hours, 2005
I am a city by the sea
sinking into a toxic tide.
I am strange to myself, as though someone unknown
had poisoned my mother as she carried me.
It's here in all the pieces of my shame
that I now find myself again.
I yearn to belong to something, to be contained
in an all-embracing mind that sees me
as a single thing.
I yearn to be held
in the great hands of your heart --
oh let them take me now.
Into them I place these fragments, my life,
and you, God -- spend them however you want.