ABSOLUTION (IN FIVE PARTS)

I.
Every Sunday, 
a mother sits alone on a church pew.

Her family accompanies her
twice a year
to show her
they have not forgotten.

 

II.
Aware of her own resentment,
a daughter sits quietly in the back seat
of a long, four-wheeled road trip
with sounds buzzing in her ears
and something whirring about inside her belly
and as she tries to figure out what it is,
there is a great big pull in her chest
and the anguish inside of her
streams down her cheeks.

She inhales carefully
so that she may remain invisible.

 

III.
A son sits on a bench and waits to be picked up from school and it is very late now and he is the last one and he knows it and he knows daddy must be on his way but probably got tied up in a meeting or a phone call or something more important and he knows it and (though it should not matter it does) it doesn’t take long before a terrible gray knot grows in his throat as he looks down at his plastic watch and he knows it and finally the boy screams so loudly that the gray explodes through his mouth in a furious surge of red hot goodbye.

The sun melts on the orange horizon.
Suddenly, headlights in the distance —

 

IV.
A father lays dead and buried
somewhere on a hillside
while his three young children sit around
and wonder about the people
they are to be without him.

Their mother cannot replace him,
and that is half of the difficulty, at least.

 

V.
What will it take
to stop blame
from dripping slowly
from the leaky faucet
of indignation?
The touch of your palm
against mine?
The jasmine scent of your sorrow?
Your eyes of sapphire?

Maybe the only answer is time:
when the scars have turned blue-pink and worn,
when the accidents have been appreciated
through an ancient translucent windowpane,
when we are able
to sit and watch the sun rise
and really truly
start over without any answers,
with only the soft purr
of a boiling tea kettle,
that old friend
who tells us
day in and day out
it will all be fine
and, later, 
we will make it home
just in time for supper.

 

 

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