IN ALL THE NAMES OF GOD
My daughter is living several hours away and witnesses a murder.
It's several shots, and she jumps behind a white Ford Taurus.
Shouts, a scream, and a car driving away fast, leaving a body
in the street. By the time she calls, she's to her apartment.
All our knowing is after. "It was very bad." A body conforms
to the contours of where it falls, human of rags, that we
are each a journey others travel. The Life Planner
How To tells us you are to bless the journey, champagne
across the bow, the steps you are to take, the life compass,
in the strong afternoon sun across the floor, wispy corners,
the morass of last year in the window wells.
You'd think nothing ever happens. And then it happens. And then,
for those who live, here's your absurd sunrise, your absurd
breakfast. Maybe that's the blessing, that the role of blessing
is dailiness, and so mingle, vestige and absence, candle
into the machine of darkness. We go back to work.
Outside, a car stops short, and it all comes back. It's difficult
to say it begins or ends. That beneath this room
there is a field. Beneath the field, a city. Beneath the city,
this room. I swear I never wanted anything compared
with how much this yellow wall joins the concrete walkway
as I was out walking, feeling small. Absurd yard, fence,
and WELCOME sign in blue and white lettering. When I
was a child, and my father was killed, it was a wreck. The next day,
my mother identified the body, but they already knew
it was him. It's a ritual, formalities of weather, footnotes.
And the driver of the truck, and the driver of the car my father
was travelling in, do laundry. The industrial sound of car
hitting car, like the magazines blessing us from the checkout line
of Walmart, three-headed dog, nine-headed snake.
There is a body in the road that was a person. We say run,
so the blessing is to run, but we mean it only barely. Ten yards,
twenty, and you're away. Then a week later,
we're hanging Christmas lights, as all things call to us
in each singular voice, and a manic calm descends.