That Damned Spot

It has become clear that I learned only from all the best
mistakes I made, more than I did from what went right.
The time I failed to defend my friend, that crucial night
I slammed down a wineglass full of red in my clenched fist,
shattering it to bits. These wrongs put me on “the right
road to wholeness,” as Jung would say, which means a route
paved “with fateful detours and wrong turnings,” and too the mute
chagrin of afterwards, when reflection comes, the dark night
of the soul. I have expanded through what in me was mean
and small, from a base spite at times when my ire burned,
sputtering and greasy – when, rather than be generous, I spurned
the chance to rise above, broaden, keep my conscience clean.
That damned spot is all that keeps me moored to earth. I lean close:
my breath fans the sooty smudge of that which shames me most.

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