Joshua Gave Up Despair for Lent

Paul sits alone in the impossible dark.
To hold him the dark takes human shape.
It is warm and wet with tears.

He thinks about Joshua his long time friend.
Or not friend. How can you be a friend
if you never show-and-tell your scars?

Acquaintance? Neither now.
He did not reach out before the gunshot.
A calamity of percentages.

A leaving with no possibility of return.
The floating away of a ghostly lingering.
The bullet’s exit shattered a leaded glass window.

The dark squeezes Paul.
Sends a tingle through his nervous system.
He shutters his eyes to see the little lights.

Joshua takes form and digs his own grave.
He lies down and pulls a maple sapling to his lap
He asks for dirt.

The universe has such tangled connections.
Paul will see that Joshua’s ashes go under a sapling.
The darkness eases its grip.

copyright © 2023 Kenneth P. Gurney

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