Today, I’m sad. I went to the memorial of my young nephew Michael yesterday. It was a beautiful service, and many, many people came to mourn his passing. There were prayers and songs and poems and bible passages and speeches. There was an enormous amount of love in the room. One woman, who didn’t know Michael, came just to be of support to his mother, because she had lost her 22-year-old daughter a few years ago. I am trying to focus on the love and all of the beautiful souls who came to pay homage to Michael and to support his family, but the sadness lingers.
In addition to being sad, I’m also jumpy and distracted because there was an epic flood in my bathroom today, and I’m trying to get ready to go to FEMA school next week and my incipient airport anxiety is rearing its ugly head already even though this is all locked-down and government-run and smart, efficient people will be there to help. All of this to say, I just don’t have a blog post in me this week. Instead, here’s a (very old) poem of mind for the new year. I’ll be back in a few weeks with tales of my emergency management training adventures!
Shows up during lunch rush at the Deli Express.
Slips beside me into the booth, a chummy ghost
As I eat cheese toast and gulp acidic coffee.
It happens so fast I don't notice him at first,
He smiles at me, as soft as laundered flannel,
Then he's humming in my heart like a blue lotus.
And just like that, it's done.
After the years of sour cramping in my throat,
The perpetual grit of rage that dimmed my sight,
A lit novena for each tendril of revenge:
God, lead me to forgiveness; please God lead me out
Of this black canyon that echoes only pain.
(But not today, not just yet, let me linger still).
Next, the neatly-typed, imaginary papers
Stating: “I forgive, I forgive”--those stern contracts
That somehow never took; non-binding, useless screeds
Thrown out of court for lack of a credible witness.
The fresh herbs and tinctures did nothing, either
Though I longed to swallow forgiveness like a seed.
The fact is that in the end, it came on it's own
With such ease, and through the tiniest of spaces.
I knew then the difference between choice and grace.
Outside, the rain continued on, and the people.
Inside, my coffee tasted just as bitter,
But I drank it in a different universe.