By Chris kutscheraYou told me your name; if I could just remember it then maybe I could frame the life you laid at my feet. No meat, no bread, nothing to eat, your system is no longer accepting nourishment. I gave you water. I gave you clothes that you could sell to earn your ticket home. Or maybe, just the memory of home.

You said, “Maybe you are lucky to help me.” At first I read arrogance but upon reflection, you were so right. Fortune was finding a way to my heart, finding me via the way of your abject misfortune.

Your clothes were clean and ironed; i saw your pride in life in the face of its demise. And you are as thin as a sword and just as upright. Yes, righteousness itself flashes from the shook foil of your emptiness. Your story overflows, but there is no self pity, just the welling waters of the acceptance of your mortality.

No self pity, perhaps, but there was panic. The panic of a soldier about to mount a final charge over into no mans land. Metallic, hard, the flavor of machinery. I tasted it too, but the lingering tang was simple Rightness, and thanks to you, I tasted my own true place in things.

You show me the doctor’s letters, your anti-retrovirals. A small purse, a small collection of artifacts. It may be all you own. But this predicament, is not yours alone, we all return to dust and we all face our Creator. And at this moment in time, here on a sidewalk, this is hallowed ground. Our feet are unshod, my brother, we both see the consuming fire. I feel your panic, but I also feel the birthpangs of your freedom. You are unfettered by illusion, sojourning as you are through leafy, vacant suburbia, you have no attachments.

You’ve gone, but you won’t go away…

You have already gone through the loss of your very self. No friends in this city, no more work, no more strength to work, your father, mother and grandparents, no more. And you, man in what may have been your prime, have not had the privilege nor earthly honor to have a family of your own. Ah to hold my babies, to hold my loved ones; but you, life has torn through you
like a devouring scourge.

And yet you believe, you look at me a stranger and honor me with the title “Brother, my brother.” Will I ever have the purity of your knowledge, the depth of your worship? There was an ocean of words someplace, just waiting in the wings, ready to issue forth, but all I could muster was muteness.

The closest you could come to locating yourself in a history was your uncle. Not that he could support you in your hour of need, having no work himself, nor even a room for you. But he is your connection with a time spend on Earth, he is Blood. You needed an insurmountable sum for transport. It’s yours, take it.

It was 10 minutes cutting into my day but I was staring into a great fissure in time and space, I was staring into Eternity. All I can say is, go well my unnamed brother, go well, and think of me when you reach paradise.

You’ve gone, but you won’t go away…