a small ritual for endings

IMG_20190213_123743810Begin with good intentions.
Many.
The best.
You will do this. It will be perfect.

Choose a candle–
the one you’ve been saving–
the one too good to burn.
You will light it,
finally,
when you are finished.
You will consecrate this space.
It will be perfect.

Recycle old papers.
Burn documents.
Finally decide what to do
with scraps of wrapping paper,
jars of rainwater,
an old rosary.
Become overwhelmed.
(you can finish tomorrow).

Begin again tomorrow.
Read the journals–
the ones that have guilted you
with their unread presence
(or at least skim them)
((or flip through the pictures))
(((no one is keeping score)))
((((except you))))
(((((stop that)))))
((((((you can finish tomorrow)))))).

Tomorrow,
respond to the letters.
Pay the bills.
You are almost finished.
Wrap up the lingering projects
that have languished under the bed
or in the closet
(or let them go)
((no one is looking))
(((except you))).
You can finish tomorrow.

Tomorrow
you are almost finished
when your parents arrive
with a few things you must have.
Accept these things.
Silently despair.

Then sift through the papers
that tell of your grandfather’s flight
over Germany during WWII–
the one where he was surrounded,
was nearly shot down,
until a man’s voice crackled in
over the radio–
We got you, big boy–
and a fighter appeared
out of nowhere
to drive off death.
Sift through your grandfather’s marks,
shaky in black ink,
where he tried to track down,
sixty years later,
the name of the man who saved him.

He died not knowing.
(You will die not knowing.)
Accept that nothing is ever finished,
but that we can still move on
because we save one another
and are saved by one another
every single day.

Light the candle
you were never going to burn.
Ring a bell in the corners of the room.
Throw open the window
in the frozen maw of February.
Watch the flame burn,
flicker in the wind,
the ghost of a draft
over Germany
as the wing
of the Tuskegee Airman’s plane
slices through death,
opens a path
for a white boy
to come home.

This has happened
and this will happen
and thisĀ is happening now.
Nothing is ever
finished
but we can still
move on
because we save
and are saved
and because nothing
is ever really
finished

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