Saturday, September 03, 2005

6. Help Is On The Way

by Leda

We believed help was on the way
I never believed the churches; Jesus is a myth, right?

City workers, the mayor would help us and so would the Feds
In the night, crawling from an attic into a net

Me, grasping stinging threads of a thick rope in the dark night -
Whuppph! Was this the end I rocked my child to sleep for?

Was this the ending? Way worse than a TV show ending?
An anonymous end - me, wet itchy clothes, the dark...
Now with the light descending

I want to think about the myth:
Of me doing life differently than my mom and dad did -
Or differently than those who ended up suffering or dead

As I bounce up to the copter, a star shines over New Orleans
Hearing a garbled voice on the chopper radio - "10-4" I pretend

I'm back to my same job and neighborhood - just for a few seconds
Then I remember who's left—clinging to air spaces in attics

Or baking on hot roofs, hoping help is on the way
Then, as my mind drifts into waters of hurt, stink, and longing

I want to look back at that star...

'Are you OK, hun?' a high drawl touches my bent shoulders
I heave in sobs, as if the voice was my late mother's...

'Sh-sure,' I stutter, 'th-thanks, r-really, thanks.'
I whisper to New Orleans drifting - 'Help is on the way'


2 comments:

Mary Westbrook said...

Wow...
your story took me with you in the place you were.
Write more!
You are good at it!
Write your whole story and send it to Parade or to Guideposts or any other publication, just do it because your writing is easy to read and takes me to the place where you were. I am in the experience!

Anonymous said...

Mary,
I felt SO sick with sadness when I wrote this. I'm SO glad you felt IN the experience. I felt it when I wrote it--although my dad's body is dead and buried long ago in Metairie cemetery, I did NOT actually experience the storm--but did experience the gravity of the situation early on as the events unraveled over radio and tv. I'll follow up on your suggestion to send articles to Guideposts and Parade.
I've felt for a while I can write inspirational pieces that touch the heart.
For anyone struggling from this hurricane or from any other of life's many challenges, I'd say get lots of hugs and read the Psalms. The Psalms are often laments--tales of deep woe, rage. The Psalms affirm our experience of life as humans. Our "gurus" and technology have their amazing powers and also their sometimes cataclysmic, unpredictable limits as we have found out once again. God's message of care, of listening to our hearts, comes through in the Psalms. To be human we have a great gift in the Psalms. I'd say to anyone who needs to grieve or get through emotional pain or loss, just pick up a Bible and dive in and let the words of the Psalms wash over you. Let the ancient words put life in perspective. Open your heart to the message.
Thanks again Mary.--Leda