Not the Season of Flowers

On this one sabbath
Paul and Lori wore white cotton shirts.

Their hands struck red match tips to striker strips
and lit twenty-seven votive candles.

They placed names on the spiraling smoke
as if the smoke carried away a tragic weight.

They did so for all the people they knew
whose ignorance betrayed them to misfortune.

They did not add uttered prayers
with their common imperfect vocabulary.

Or juggle their different interpretations of God
and what lies beyond life.

They provided the connection they desired
by holding each other’s hand.

This sharing of an unpracticed ritual
opened the path for pent-up tears.

On this one sabbath
Paul and Lori wore white cotton shirts.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney