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Good Friday Driving Westward, by Elizabeth Spires

April 12, 1998

. . . 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 And then withdrawn.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.

From "Worldling" by Elizabeth Spires (W. W. Norton: 66 pp., $10)

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