Bottles Cast

In the midst of the tragedy
prayers went up
like startled quail
like balloons at the party
like fireworks on the 4th
desperate petitions for God
to align His will with our own.

But we are again left trying
to understand what cannot
be understood, looking for
some seed of future good
in the scorched earth of our lives

Learning for the umpteenth time
that Faith is aligning our wills with His
being grateful for blessings we’ve had
holding on to the ones we still have
believing in the promise of someday
believing there will be some gain in the pain

and our prayers are notes
in bottles cast into the sea
Lord, we are still here
make us what you want us to be
show us how to go on
without the ones you’ve set free

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For a Friend

Together apart
is hard on the heart
with so much to say
and no one to say it to
so gone yet so near
and the worst of your fears
have all come to visit
in your room with no view

Having fun don’t seem right
and try as you might
you can’t help feeling guilty
for just being alive
but please be assured
while you may never be cured
the worst of the symptoms
will slowly subside

When you’ve seen the path
you’ll be able to laugh
and a return to the darkness
will not be a choice
you won’t need approval
and finally you will
be able to forgive yourself
with an honest voice

Abundance

an abundance of angels
of death, life, mercy,
some indefinable in-between
in something like an upscale refugee
camp with reclining chairs
and vending machines

I see you, ICU,
tribes stake out their corners
of the room, trying to act
normal and look their best
while their lives are being
shattered and their faith
put to the test

Some prayers are answered
to immense relief
some are not
and there is grief
but the test is passed
when a lady buys an orange soda
for a thirsty new friend
of lesser means

and kindness remains
the only currency which
never devalues

Nothing Much

He told me
they were married twenty-eight
years, separated for twenty,
just never got around to a divorce
So when she had a heart
attack and died the funeral fell
on him, of course

It seemed the right thing to do
and he does what he can
no one ever said he’s not
a right thing kind of man
nothing to lose by it
nor anything to gain
seemed they’d grown far enough
apart, not even that much pain

But in his eyes I thought
I saw a fleeting sorrow
perhaps for all those
youthful tomorrows
turned to yesterdays long since
nothing much sadder than love
turned into indifference

Above and Beyond

You can’t make sense of senseless
no matter how you try
been at it for decades now
no closer to a reason why

What does make sense is families
and friends and yes, communities
loving each other
through heartaches and horrors
lifting each other
above and beyond
the how and why of where
being irrelevant compared
to what happens
from this moment on

Showing Up

When your heart is in exile
remembering when to smile
might be one of
the problems that you face

Trying to act normal
when you don’t know
what normal is
you might prefer to vanish
without a trace

but we keep showing up
and going through the motions
in the usual strangely
familiar places

Hoping and fearing
for the mask to be stripped away
a return to the light of day
and the state of earthly grace

Showing Up

When your heart is in exile
remembering when to smile
might be one of
the problems that you face

Trying to act normal
when you don’t know
what normal is
you might prefer to vanish
without a trace

but we keep showing up
and going through the motions
in the usual strangely
familiar places

Hoping and fearing
for the mask to be stripped away
a return to the light of day
and the state of earthly grace