One Day.

One day
Some time back behind me, now
I can remember riding in the car –
Nighttime -
Silky stars in heaven laughing down through rear windows
My head laid back against the backseat,
The backseat pressed up against my sweaty back,
My eyes staring up through rear windows
As radio music becomes murmurs which fade to whispers
Barely able to brush hushed up my ears,
The melodic eyes of a boy ten years back – me…

My father is behind the wheel, the only one still awake.
Mom, Sister and I were too tired to stay up.
At least, he thinks so.
I’m still here, dad. But you don’t know.
I’m trying not to move, so you won’t know.
So it won’t show –
But there are miniature stars falling from two heavens,
Heavens lodged in my head,
My head lodged with memory -
Heavens that are staring up through rear windows
Windows that dam me from understanding something

The engine hums with the radio music
Nondescript, a subsonic numbness
Drumming tonic and dominant
Just barely enemies, neither fully trusting the other
I can feel my father fighting the urge to hum himself
And I can’t stop myself, this time,
from smiling because I know, this time,
what he’s fighting
The surge up home, to sound
The surge up home, to sound
Music from some kind of mystery

And then, suddenly, I get it
The elusive sense like silk like laughing fire
I know why I am crying:
Amidst the running wheels beneath us
Rolling rubber ringing with heat and the desert night air,
Desert night air singing with heat and the wild wind,
Wild wind stinging with heat and the dust of the earth,
The earth, the earth,
The earth!
And my family –
There is peace.

Peace is hearing the tumbling sheet of the player-piano after great-grandma’s funeral
She used to listen to it play before her brain lost its wrinkles
Before she forgot her own husband
Peace is singing “Amazing Grace” while we stand
Hand in hand
To hold a fourteen-year-old friend in our memory
who hung from her backpack strap for three
hours before she was found in the Music Hall
Peace is seeing, as the service ends, her atheist mother stand tall
to give Jesus her wounds,
because she now believes He mends them –
she was lost but now she is found
never mind the history of harsh words
and harsher blows
against a daughter whom it appears now, she finally knows
Peace is touching the darkest wells of death
Feeling the guidance of Someone bigger
Guiding you downward, to where the pains crouch
Amidst the ravaged roots, remains of a heart and a person,
A name and a favorite color; and as Jesus brings His light,
Witnessing that hue spread to cover everything she should touch.

Jesus defeats the deepest darkness.


Peace is knowing that despite the surge up home, to sound
Despite the desire to go from where he is, to hide
Despite the want to join in the deep music he hears
My father chooses silence and reflection
Because those he loves are at rest.

And so I am crying.
The stars laugh, and my father yearns for song
But as long
As Mom, Sister, and I are softly sleeping
He will fully deny himself.

Peace is knowing that you are the source of God’s happiness,
Beyond all the most beloved of other things…

Peace is being a loved child.
And we have a Father who will wipe away every star
The sky and the earth and the heavens will be renewed –
We will forget the damming, the silence, the Nighttime
And heed the surge up home, to sound
Some time up ahead of us, now
One day.

One Day.


Little Rock, United States

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