I can't remember the first time I saw it.
No doubt I was a toddler,
Strapped into a padded chair,
With rattling distractions,
Staring out the tinted window of our minivan,
At the moving shape of a man
Crying near a twisted hunk of van
Upside down with it's headlights in our eyes
No doubt my sister moved herself
Between me and it,
A multicolored toy
That caught my eye
Just long enough...
In my church the pews are empty
In places where kind old elders,
Scolded me with glances
Across the sanctuary.
And smiled away aching pains
Through long inaudible sermons.
Fighting thoughts of lonliness,
Or trying not to sleep.
They were the first to go for me,
And we surrounded them with
Speaking mostly about their life.
But I could never tell which flowers
Really were alive
When we were done,
We sealed them away
In their own little spot
Under the neatly trimmed grass
Of a well-kept lot
In the middle of the prarie.
I drive myself now,
Over the same old
And if I pass by those crying persons
Who have been pulled out of the dream
I spend no more than a minute
In morbid curiosity thinking:
"how sad it is,
That other people die"
Then I reach quickly for the radio
And play stupid happy songs
And as much as I can--
I sing along.