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The Unthinkable

All of Us, Everyone, Showing Up for Rory

For Clay, Devin, Maddie, Connor, Charlee, Emma, Bella, Jack,

Cade, Maggie, Schuyler, Eleanor, Hattie, Bridger, Delilah, Dock

I wish I could tell each of you today

that I am a brave man, that I have not lived

my life warding off grief, breathlessly listening

for breath sounds behind the doors

of seven then sixteen nurseries, making deals

with a God I don’t believe makes deals

for the asking, a supplicant everywhere

I’ve gone, begging protection against

the infinite pyre, smoke, ashes, embers

flying into my eyes in the wordless seconds

following the most terrible phone call

anyone on earth can receive,

a whistle, the shriek of wheels

coming into the station, telling me

the hour to be frightened is now past,

time to board the train, join the grieving,

the brave living, all of us, all of us, all

of us, holding hands, across the aisle,

over the back of seats, every day,

every day, every day a day to be

on the train, together, together, always

together, the train rattling ahead

into the everything coming our way,

the way our sweet boy would race

across the sand, big smile on his face,

diving fearlessly into the breaking surf

—Chief, 5 November 2023

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