September 15, 2020, United States – 200,197

Two hundred thousand,
one hundred and ninety-seven deaths
in this country from this illness this year,

and I am thinking of heaven
not as a house with many rooms,
(or mansions, depending on the bible-reader’s age),
or a city with streets lined
in trees for the healing of nations,
or a banquet table for the poor,
who never had enough
and saw at a distance the greed
of those who would not share …

but as an evacuation shelter.

How tenderly each is received.
“Here,” says an angel
the one who kisses a holy breath
into those who have not been able
to breathe,
“rest now, be calm, know you’re loved.”

And in a strange reverse
of all the shelters on earth,
caring for those who flee fire, hurricane, flood,
these new arrivals
desperately want to be assured,

that they will not see anyone they know.

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9 Responses to September 15, 2020, United States – 200,197

  1. msheehan says:

    Thank you Maren. What a perfectly terrible and wonderful truth that we do not want to see anyone we know in such a time/place AND YET here we are.

  2. Andrea Stoeckel says:

    We KNEW that terrible number would be crossed, no matter what. It’s the WHEN that is so shocking

  3. I am sure that is the prayer of those who have died at the Yukio Okutsu Veterans Home here in Hilo – but fourteen have died and over fifty residents and staff have been diagnosed. The river behind it runs salt with tears.

  4. May our prayers be the thunder for change and healing, but God you know…

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