The Only Way

There are some subjects upon which I feel completely humbled and inept to comment. When my partner, whose friend is the father of these children, suggested I write the weekly poem regarding last week's tragedy, I knew I could barely.

The Only Way

in the aftermath of three children dying in a house fire in Olympia

This poem is not for the dying,
having made the mightiest transition,
they have succor unknown in three dimensions.
Even though we who remain
may imagine those last moments
on an endless loop of suffering,
the children were whisked away in an instance,
their souls left before their bodies burned.

This poem is not for the parents,
who must be mighty in their outrage
must strip every blossom from every stem,
smash each stained glass window in every church,
for whom language and reason will fail,
words imploring hope and faith and grace will be meaningless,
only Mercy Mercy Mercy.

For they have been plunged into the hero's journey,
all physical realms peeled away revealing that which only
mystics and mad men, 
each and every embarked with raised fists,
have realized.
They, now knowing genocide, inferno,
war, tsunami and plague,
will sit with survivors of those
a brethren will flock to their aid.

The gods of destruction,
having wielded their machetes,
will bathe the wounds of the bereaved,
sacred texts will become breath,
revealing in invisible ink the truth between truths.
Their minds may remain at half mast,
but their hearts, who beat steady
despite heartbreak, will save them.
They, who at first will reject a single moment
of peace or pleasure,
will learn to live on in their memory,
then they will hear sweet whisperings
father, daddy, mother, mommy,
they will be shown that we never ever ever die.

This poem is for the rest of us
who pace the shore,
watching those mourning list on the mast,
not knowing the sights visible from that perch,
we, who stand below the crucifix,
deploring the crows who circle,
do not know having one’s eyes picked out
they are open to inner vision.

This poem is for us
who will imagine such ends with our own children,
who will not know what to say
and need comfort as we try to console.
This will be part of the healing.
We will call the survivors Teacher
and look to them to help us bear even the bearable.