Killing ants seemed normal.
Six-legged black bodies scrambling
on slab rock patio, drip of
citronella candle wax, my own
backyard Pompeii, dead, then
frozen for all time, and me the
volcano, or God or murderer.
Bored kid waiting for dinner,
smell of pork chops on the grill,
smoke into summer air.
This was published in California Quarterly back in 2006.
I don’t pray every night, but I probably should. After baths, books, conversation with wife, I usually drift into writing, creating, rearranging words on a screen. Mind a whir, could journey depths until dawn, but the clock of calculation, of sanity, of sacred sleep, tells me to stop. I go into my daughter’s room, turn down her light, I love you, I say to her curled up slumber. I meditate in my son’s room, the sound of his breathing, my pew, my stained glass, my sanctuary. Seated, darkness, air in, carbon dioxide out, first minutes filled with brain bouncing from thought to thought, the earlier, the tomorrow, the could happen. Then sometimes the indescribable now, when I’m nowhere, everywhere, witness to all time, and no time at all. Emerge a short life span later, pray for my colleague, that her malignant tumor retreats, allows life, hers to continue. It feels like I could stay forever, talking to God, to no one, to everyone.