We Should Talk More About the Country
We walk roads that seem endless but we know they’ll be tapering off like a candle with a thread all out of wax. And if you’re on a trail of tears, the finish line might seem like a release. But if this little jaunt has been a party, the fact that it gives way to long strings of funerals sometimes makes everything seem like a pretty expensive waste. I wish we would talk more about the country we’re coming home to – in friend groups speculating about the future and in worship and at work and with the scores of somebodies on the street. I have tried my best to express this in the following little poem, which won a special prize on Utmost Christian Writers…
The summer had besieged us like armies, like slow wildfire, like cruelty and when the high sea broke open and bled white water it was high time. We did not see it like that: with eyes greedy for justice and gaping. We were growing older, expected less and less, and celebrated everything: the crinkled white leaves in the wet hearts of beans, bellicose mosquitoes, gnats like stardust in the fire-wind, charred asparagus needles, thin tea, and the yellow teeth under the tongues of purple snapdragons. We were old enough to be thoroughly happy about the pond hosting black-winged whistler ducks with beaks like bursts of flame, the garden making a home for rugged white parsnips and the green pebbles of peas; to relish donuts like spun sugar, trees shedding water like tears, nightbirds in the moonful sky, and the steady drip of rain through our dreams.
After a time, even drought-break and jubilation begin to taste of sadness. When we stand in the pool of our contentment, wearing each other’s presence like a coat of many smiles, we will never stand here again, never with the water hurtling off of the shingles, and the ants chewing our naked toes, never with the baby tangling his pink fingers in our hair and our mouths glad with songs, and our hearts full like hosed cells of celery.
We should talk more of the country we are coming home to, and less of the land we are living in like unhomed swallows on the waves of the sky, like beached sailboats straining at the bar, their wings clapping the salty air. Talk of the houses that are waiting behind yellow curtains to be filled with laughing and the lilting piano, and puddled crushed citrus spiking the rooms. Swaying in our rocking-chairs and wrapped in our respective twilights, we should not speak of our histories as though we stood before the banquet of delights and were too easy on our dinnerware. We should not speak of what has been and will never be again. We should talk about what has never been, though we have been waiting for it all our lives. Talk of the gold city that shall break on our sight like rain on brittle grass, when we shall go up from the house of slavery and swing over the threshold of the promised land.
By Bryana Joy