On the Occasion of Mourning Death (Gather You Fires, Part II)

This week, my community lost a life too soon. I am sorry for his passing. (This is part of the Collective Poems.)


On the Occasion of Mourning Death (Gather You Fires, Part II)

The memory of the frailest soul lost burns like a tiny sun, and we together carry many tiny suns, are warmed by many tiny suns.

Gather you sun-bearers by the funeral pyre; gather again– awakened in the collective– rare though we gather, here as we gather, together in memory; We are.

We are nothing if not for remembering the way face reflects joy immeasurable, or soul reflects God uncontainable, or death reflects hope interminable.

We are nothing if not for carrying the legacy of that joy, stretching the legacy of that joy, remembering the legacy of that joy.

We are nothing if not for marking ourselves with ashes, for remembering that, as the poet said, lights are again and again. Memories are unsnuffable things if we let them be.

So gather you fires best– awake in the collective– together in sorrow, together in feasting, in communion wine— and there find that memories are more than ashes. And by this, even the fallen are at last part of the brilliant, unforgettable constellation.

A Modest Hope for Titus Lee (Part II)

I was stumbling through my archives last night and ran across this prenatal piece I wrote for Titus Lee.

I imagine that he'll grow quickly. We all do. He'll learn to eat solid food soon, learn to say "scared" instead of "scarwed." He'll have a first grade Sarah. They'll be destined for marriage until he meets his fourth grade Emily, and so on. He might play piano or guitar or he might dunk a basketball. In high school, he might be in show-choir like his momma. They'll sing Smells Like Teen Spirit, and he'll tell us how much he loves that kind of classic rock. In college, he'll major in partying until he meets Jesus. Or maybe he'll major in Jesus from the get go. That'd make me proud. He'll marry, have children, work a job. I hope he eulogizes me at my funeral. He'll say I wasn't perfect, but hopefully he'll say "he was a good man; he was my dad."

We hold more loosely to those old modest hopes these days. Now, Amber and I chart growth in ounces and wonder when Titus Lee will stomach solid food. I think that's all the better.


There are lessons to be learned in the rearranging of hopes: the fierceness of a mother's resolve; the faith that extends to doctors and friends; the joy found in a toddler's smile.

Titus Lee has taught me well. I never thought to hope for that.

The Robe Upon My Back

Today, I'm writing over at Deeper Story, where I write: My running was not unique, really. I fiercely declared my independence, shook my fist and said "I'll show them!" I could list the litany of sins here, but sometimes I wonder if there are secrets best not splayed across the internet, at least not today. But the specifics aren't important.

Continue reading at Deeper Story to see just how I incorporate this song by Jordan Hurst (and go buy it)...