As friends solemnly told him to call
On them if ever he needed anything,
Only his pastor was candid enough
To tell him Jesus alone would stay.
And so it was as it had always been,
Walking alone on the beach, in town,
Along the highway, and in the upstairs
Hallway with no memory of being carried.
He supposed Jesus was a faithful companion,
But a bit quiet, and not much help when
A flat needs fixing. He’s someone you can
Always talk to, but feedback is lacking.
And why should Jesus be different from the
Others? Why would the Son of God care
That he was lonely? Why would he look
For Divinity in the deep pools of loss?
We have such unfounded confidence that
The future will be like the past that
We are constantly disappointed in the
Present. The future betrays us daily.
So I can’t be blamed for thinking you’d
Be here still—as you always were.
Thousands of observations told me
You were a survivor and, besides,
You promised you’d never leave.
My imagination has expanded
Regarding the regularity of nature,
But I still look for you in the
So many people died that year that I developed
A permanent anxiety about companion mortality.
Guns, cancer, fire, and water all took people from me.
After an absence of a few months, a friend once
Called just to say, “You thought I was dead,
Didn’t you?” My curse amused him immensely.
Once, as my infant son lay resting peacefully, I went
Over to check his breathing. His older brother
Reassured, “It’s okay, Daddy, he’s not dead.”
And you apologise for keeping me awake with
Your fitful sleep, but every cough, sigh, snore, or
Fart only reminds me you are with me awhile longer.
Ever since the change from that time of life,
You have thrown the covers off your body as
If they were on fire, inviting damp coolness
On your skin. As the sweat evaporates and
You slip into a sounder sleep, I touch your
Cool and immobile body with trepidation
Nightly. I don’t want to wake you and disrupt
Your peace, so I lie awake, fretting and alone, to
Ponder this nightly act of solicitous love.