Richard Reed Jr
Age Rating: 7 +
That Thursday I was:
Late getting up.
The shadows on the west side of the trees
In my backyard were growing short.
The sun was climbing high into the sky.
But I managed to arrive as heads
Were bowing low for the first time.
The simple words spoken
Were befitting of the one who passed
Away, that day which stole the light.
We pulled away from the spire-steepled church
Permitting the procession to stay in-column
Through the sleeping high heat
Of the early afternoon sun's
Change to the descent. Its fall had begun.
Our limousine passed weary-like through
The jumbled distance of streets
And by houses huddled together like aged crones
Remembering the brightness of their youths.
At first, I didn't notice what noises
The children made
At their play: laughter destroys what unknown
Fears remain of the darkness to come.
And across the fields of fading green grass
I took the mounds in the diamond-shaped dirt
To be graves and the children to be grave-diggers.
Then, as closer we passed to them: cheering,
Bats in their hands, hats on their heads,
Their brims pulled low, they watched us go.
As if we were simply a passing event
They waved goodbye
As though they would survive it. Struck,
I turned my head promptly, curiously
And saw it all in different terms.
The fathers guzzling beer, bellies over their belts,
Mothers encouraging their own, deriding the others,
An uncle shouting the foulest of filth.
The children and umpires arguing away
The pretense of sportsmanship, that day.
The baseball games would soon come to an end.
The last hurrah
Would be shouted and bodies would pile
In a heap on top of the mound.
The dreams of fame and fortune would die,
Fading into boring blue or white collar jobs,
Success mostly farcical and dull.
And as we composedly passed along, Each fun-filled face
Seemed to define us as a joke, irreverently laughing. Well,
Children and fools cannot see beyond the tips of their noses.
Moving around the curve and onto the freeway
Picking up speed
Leaving our familiar suburbs behind us,
We watched the landscape, sitting side by side.
None thought of the lives we passed that day
Or how their lives, as well as everyone's
Would all contain this hour.
I thought of where we all were aimed,
Like balls thrown with skill, we would all strike home.
I pictured the world, spread out like a baseball diamond:
As we pulled through the gate
I felt the brakes
Tighten us down to a creeping pace.
The landscape turned into deep green plots.
We soon would arrive at our intended spot.
One by one the chain of cars stopped. We disembarked,
Gathering into a circle. Our friend was put to the darkness.
I imagined his frozen, ashen white face, with thin firm lips.
Then, I swear as they lowered what remained to the sod
From somewhere came the crack of a bat, the Laughter of children.
A chorus in unison arose from the necropolis below:
as I lie here, so also..............