The day slants towards sunset at 5, 4:30, 3:57… I can see pink between the school buildings and I hesitate to look up, knowing that another day has already slipped past me.
I want to stop all the clocks and silence the chatter. I want to stop the poems leaking from my fingers and I want to gather them back up again.
I want to remind the world that it doesn’t have to spin so relentlessly, that it could stop, even for a moment – because there is grief on Wednesday nights in evening prayer in an almost-empty sanctuary, because there are days when Fernando Ortega sings “Praise Him Still” and you know that it is only in the very smallest corner of your heart that you understand that to be true. And you are silent. And you cannot sing, but you sing next to your father and hold his hand and cry.
Because heart attacks can snatch a life more precious than you understood, at the moment you were laughing over a cocktail, at the moment you were longing to write a poem, caught up in yourself – because life is so fragile, so beyond what I understand, that I write a whispered prayer somewhere and then I make an offering.
What do you want?
To play Horse Feathers on the radio
in my car, that absurd violin
against my chest.
To bathe in the music, in a driveway
in a February in a year of darkness.
To close my eyes.
To trust someone else’s composed
Universe for three minutes, fourteen seconds:
a last waltz in this bed, starving robins
in thistled spring.
I want life gathered, fragile –
That violin, playing me.
Sometimes the only offering in the face of a beloved professor’s sudden departure is to write something, anything, about the fragile, gathered life –
and the violin that plays as we etch sadness in our days,
and the violin that plays, to praise Him still, somehow.