IN A NAMELESS CITY
In a nameless city, a radical fundamentalist sits nervously
before me with a cup of coffee in hand. Trying to explain
to me the absolute reality of his beliefs, his truth, his god.
Don't bother to ask me which beliefs, it hardly matters,
they are his own. I try to remind him how extensive
the visible universe is, how old and open that what
we see from earth is 28 billion parsecs in diameter. How
small we all are in such a vastness. I try to explain that what
we do see is only a partial vision
of the eternal, arguing creation is boundless. And when
seen from inside God's eye, how it is always expanding
in its acuity as his sight moves effortlessly across creation.
How the known universe is always changing, growing,
evolving even as we speak; as a mystery. And the best
we can do is live inside this mystery,
when what we do know is only a single grain of sand resting
with a finite number of other grains. What we know
is that our billions of galaxies far out number
all the grains on all the beaches humankind ever walked
upon through human history. I try to tell him how
precious and unique all life is, how sacred.
How we are, meant to love and be loved. His eyes are blank.
I say all this to him while looking directly into each one of
his blue eyes, trying my best to make some connection.
Then I see the vest under his coat, the look of fear in his eye,
words hurriedly spoken to an unknown god come spilling out
of his mouth in a travesty of prayer, an explosion of light and heat.
Then the utter silence of many voices, which will never
be heard again. The silence deafens us.
It is death.
This poem is taken from When Angels Are Born by Ron Starbuck.
Saint Julian Press, Inc. © 2013
Ron Starbuck is an author, poet, the Publisher-CEO of Saint Julian Press, and an Episcopalian.