Just as I saunter down the front porch stair
Into the brilliant light of Sunday morning,
My collar pressed, pants creased, and without care,
As if the world shrugged off all signs of mourning,
I catch sight of the dive bar on Teele Square.
And there, left blinking, helpless, lost in light,
A man and woman who’ve just been kicked out,
Their cash all gone, shamed in each other’s sight
At the butt end of a long drinking bout
That now seems poised to finish with a fight.
The man calls out to me across the street
To ask me for a dollar. I just smile
And pass on, but observe the morning heat
Already overcoming hope and guile,
As their pink faces settle in defeat.
I can’t be bothered, really, and arrive
At Mass just as the bell begins to toll,
Squeezing into a back pew all alive
With children stretched beyond their moms’ control.
One peers at me, then takes a sudden dive.
And here, an hour, we listen, sing, and pray.
The day is ripe and everything so clear,
We scarcely glimpse what else might come our way.
But when, months on, the dark headlines appear,
Joy stops, doors shut, and few of us will stay.