Nebraska (a poem on graces, both common and special)

A piece for the gents who have stuck closely.


After listening to the sermon on common graces, we dropped the vinyl pressing of Bruce Springsteen’s "Nebraska" onto the record player. It seemed the only appropriate response, we reckoning that moment of crackling between the dropping of the needle and Bruce’s harmonica as a tangible working out of the sermon.

I said that I've watched you sing “How Great Thou Art,” while false-casting fly line over the White River. In those moments before you push the line forward from its wayward arc, you recognize peace. The liminal space pending the consummation of presentation is a mercy to the hunting, diving trout. They move, unaware.

“I don’t believe in special grace," I say matter-of-factly, mostly to watch your blood pressure rise. Bruce sings, “everything dies, baby that’s a fact,” and you pull your husky into your lap. "Mercies are found in death," you say, and you remind me of the one who sticks closer than a brother, of the embrace of a woman’s promise, of the cold cup of water delivered 'Round Midnight.

Photograph by Piano Piano!, used under Creative Commons license.