continuing with another excerpt from the most amazing poetry book i have ever read [and while this is a really small set of things, that doesn’t diminish the amazingness of this book one bit] by my online friend, Michael Toy, titled ‘Blame it on the Huehuetenango’ and this poem in particular which he calls ‘My First Last Day’ being reminded that the subtitle of this book is ‘Poetry for the Recovering Evangelical’ and so specifically for anyone who ever walked, or contemplated walking, away from church…

MY FIRST LAST DAY

I remember the day I hung up my robe,

we were all smiling and thinking 

      which buffet we’d eat at.

I knew I wasn’t coming back.

Next Thursday night

when the music director handed out the charts 

for the special music,

I wouldn’t be there

wondering who got the solo.

I knew that next Sunday,

I would not be a blue-robed architectural element,

a backdrop for a proclamation that went forward

but never came back.

What I did not know

was that I was about to die.

My tupperware life,

as artificial and commercial as it was…

was still a life.

Now I wander in a Valley of Un-Life

faced away from one thing,

unable to find the next

At sunrise and sunset

I see a reflection in the clouds

of the light from the country

I am looking for.

I ache to walk in that light,

to feel the warmth of it

under my skin.

But the earth conspires,

gravity draining,

steps fail me

Stainless dreams for a happy ending

hang on the hook next to my robe.

What were my dreams when I hung up my robe?

I can’t remember.

All I remember is the feeling of emptiness …

it dawns that I have traded one emptiness for another

and tears at last find their way into the open air.

With the tears come words,

lyrics to a song.

They surprise me,

because they are joyful.

“Brother, Sister, Friend, I am so glad

        that you are here with me today.”

Still lacking direction

I feel less lost

The country of light seems close

as we embrace and the warmth of your breath

passes over my face.

[For another great poem titled ‘Christian Men and Christian Women, click here]

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