By Brett Foster
The boy who calls on the phone line
requests our prayers for a girl he knows
from youth group, and whose world
is dissolving as her love goes blind.
Her mother, as he tells the show,
“is having cancer” — someone’s old-
world grandfather might have said it so.
And fondly I recall a friend fresh
from marrying his love in Messina,
whose father-in-law had said, “They wish,
these two, to conjugate,” and toasted
the pair joyously. But the boy’s message?
It resembles the way we’d say a host
is expecting (you’re invited to the shower)
or else is having a friend to supper,
an invitation maybe sent
in chiseled verse of Roman epigram.
Yet the earnest point is not lost.
The entreaty’s cause remains the same
whether as Praise or troubled begging
for declining ones, only days to go.
There comes a knowledge beyond the knowing,
comprehending growing up,
or must, if we’re to reckon the cost.
A common humbling grinds the bones
down (I mean everyone’s, eventually)
or rather, if the phrasing can try
better – making it lightly done
yet not swooning in subterfuge –
it happily stops increasing aging,
says a Paul’s-Cross preacher, time of plague.
Such comeuppances cease our flagging.
Tell me, though, if this feels true?
And so the boy seeks remedy, or refuge.