...being by others hurried every day,
Scarce in a yeare their naturall forme obey:
Pleasure or businesse, so our Soules admit
For their first mover, and are whirld by it.
—John Donne

The rain. Rain that will not end.
The daily errands. Daily bread.
No letting up. No pause
as I steer blindly, circling
the great city. City of tears and blood.
I woke this morning to the ringing phone.
To the last days of the twentieth century.
Hello. Hello. But the line was dead.
The phone in my hand heavy.
My mind whirling. Numb. Taken
against my will closer to oblivion.
At the mall, a man in rags begging
for a coin. My God, only a coin!
I turned my back. Turned back.
But he was gone. Daily, I turn my back.
The suffering of others more and more
like television. Do I drive East? West?
Do I suffer? Shall anger be divine?
Uncorrected, I steer. Swerve
on a slick patch. Lose control.
The rain letting up now. Clouds torn.
The setting sun a brilliant bloody globe.
As if a nailed hand had violently
raked the sky. And then withdrawn.
Past anger or mercy. Leaving me
more distanced. Alone. Driving
this endless road with all the others.
Night and night’s Eternity coming on.

This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 9 Number 7, on page 58
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