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An anxious mind is paralyzed by choice.
The angel doesn’t offer choice, but birth —
springing the snare of virtue versus vice.

Her eyes fixed on her book, anchored in peace,
she hears him in the shadowed halls of death.
Her quiet mind is unconcerned with choice.

She knows there’s more to life than being nice,
more power in surrender than in strength,
more ways to win than virtue killing vice.

He holds up flowers, pointing to the source
of all that blooms; a ghostly bird flies forth
to pierce a mind where love’s the only choice.

The door between them opens on a place
where light breaks through, and heaven touches earth.
The tree of virtue grows in grounds of vice.

The way, the door, the light are calling us
into that narrow path of perilous growth,
our restless minds all singled to one choice:
to free ourselves from virtue, and from vice.

Photo by Bradley Gossett on Unsplash

Lory Widmer Hess

Lory Widmer Hess is an American currently living with her family in Switzerland. She works with adults with developmental disabilities and is in training as a spiritual director. Her publication credits include ParabolaAmethyst Review, and Ekstasis, and her book When Fragments Make a Whole: A Personal Journey Through Healing Stories in the Bible will be published by Floris Books in 2024.Visit her website and blog at