Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Ironic Advent Meditation #18: Old Enough to Know.


We, old enough to  know we are idiots,
Breathing a sort of sigh in unison, 
collapsing exhausted on these mall benches.

Wondering how we got here after swearing we'd do it different
get it right next year 
which now is this.

We look at each other forgivingly,
sometimes nod off into dreams
while partners or older children are still out there 

wrestling in the mosh pit 
and looking for that one last perfect gift 
to say the night's a success.

Success!? Look at me, I moan,
I hurt everywhere, including behind my eyes
and under my stinking toes.

And, obviously I'm aware, as well, 
that I probably need to gas up Bessie in the morning
and do this same crazy dance again tomorrow. 

I think I'm going blind. And my feet are falling off. 

When a young girl, maybe nine, comes into my view, our view, 
holding her little baby brother, 
who can't be a year, I'd say more like seven months or so. 

She carries him over the fountain outside the J. C. Penny,
I want to say be careful but I just watch,
I want to say make sure you hold him tight

Then, she says wonderful things to him in a wonderful voice, 
laughs as he reaches out towards the water 
and bounces in her arms.

As far as I'm concerned, this proves nothing, 
means everything, 
probably changes the course of history. 

And I think of my oldest son holding me,
crying like a baby, 
as it hits me that my brother isn't going to make it.*

*The girl in the picture holding her brother is Mariam, a nine-year old displaced person hiding in a ancient underground cemetery in Syria. She and many others are (or at least were three weeks ago) using such places as underground shelters to hide from shelling of forces loyal to President al-Assad. She won't make it to the Galleria this year. 


  1. that made me cry, we held on to him as strong as we could

  2. Made my wife cry too. We've been reading the Irony together some days...most days.

  3. I really saw the little girl holding her little brother by the fountain. And I really was nodding off on that bench. And someday things will happen to them. And they will make things happen.And there really was that split second when I knew Noel wasn't going to make it. It's not giving up or giving in, exactly. It's just all that hope you've been fighting for falls away.