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Give Us This Day (A Poem)

Give Us This Day

Sign says slow: death in family.
No noticeable effect.
These four-wheeled worlds pass,
     eyes fixed ahead, yet
Eternity was there ---
     Death.  It said death.

Ambulance screams: parts this flow.
I shut it out.
I press ahead, yet I can't
     avoid the sound.
Eternity was there ---
     Someone was dying.  Someone dead.

In that moment: image flash.
A fiery crash.
Searing heat unwraps
     my soul.
Eternity was there ---
     Me dying.  Me dead.

Still my breath: white-knuckled
Hands on wheel, here on the
     thread-way of doubt and belief.
I live the moment, my
     liturgy to play:
"Father in heaven,
     In our dying, give us this Day."

[This poem was prompted by seeing a sign saying "Slow.  Death in family." that I saw as I drove down a highway in a rural area of the state one morning.  That was many years ago when, perhaps, there was more respect for those who had suffered loss.  People did in fact down out of respect, much like folks would pull over to the side of a road when a funeral procession went by.  I haven't seen either happen for quite some time.  I still remember being in such a funeral procession for my father-in law and passing by a man selling newspapers in the median.  He had his hat off and his head bowed as we passed.  I won't forget that image from a decade ago.  It seems we are a culture that desperately wants to forget death.]