by Amadea Smith

A lit chalice,
A room of almost complete silence,
“Open minds, helping hands, and loving hearts”1
Bounce across the wooden walls
The weeping woman on stage shares her crisis
Her sobs flood the space like waterfalls



down, as if timeless.

A tap of the singing bowl
A failed attempt to console—
Such sorrows I could not understand
No matter how far open I stretched my hand.

So I danced.

Indigo cloth twirling behind me as I moved in between rows
My sweaty little feet sticking to the polished floors, faces beginning
To glow, and smiles to show
The little girl knew how
To sew with threads of joy, threads
Of sorrow, the fabric of enduring
From deep below.

But did I really know?

“Roots pull me close, wings set me free Spirit of life, come unto me”2
Humming those glorious words from
Long ago to feel the same old joy inside me
Grow, yet the melody no longer forms a quilt of solace
For protection from harm, from fear Is (my) life’s broken promise.

  1. “We are the church of open minds, helping hands, and loving hearts,” a guiding mantra within Unitarian Universalism.
  2. “Spirit of Life,” hymn by Carolyn McDade, 1981.

Amadea Martino Smith is a junior at Johns Hopkins University, majoring in Anthropology. Amadea recently presented her research “When Trauma No Longer Disqualifies: Examining the Institutional Universality of Traumatic Experience at a Work Rehabilitation NGO” at the Trauma, Narratives, Institutions: Transdisciplinary Dialogues conference in November 2019. In the spring, she won the 2019 Trouillot Essay Prize for her essay titled “A Community of Researchers and Flies: An Exploration of Ownership in a Drosophila Laboratory.” Amadea works as a certified personal trainer at the Recreation Center, a research assistant, and the Coordinator for Grants and Development for First Friday’s Group. She was awarded a humanities research cluster grant and will be presenting “The Paradox of Nature and Image in a Technological World” in the spring of 2020.