Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: ANNOYED (04/05/18)
- TITLE: If I Could Pedal Backwards
By Francy Judge
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ADD TO MY FAVORITES
I maneuver my fold-up bike out the front door,
waiting to hear my phone ding
a message. Check one last time. 10:00.
Church bells chime from St. Ignatius.
And I know that is my answer.
It is now. Too late. How could this happen?
Why couldn’t I get an answer sooner?
I bike to work, exasperated at the world around me;
the October wind stings my watery eyes,
the sting of death,
And punches a hole through my heart.
Worse not saying goodbye.
I should be sitting on the wooden pew
with my sons, humming Amazing Grace
through the lump in my throat—
smelling the lilies,
linked with a town of young people grieving
The end of a friend’s life—
holding a mirror to our own.
I pedal faster with all my anger,
Challenging time to undo…
Enough of this…
No more death.
Take the casket away.
Fly him back to Europe
To his travels—
No one finds him,
Lying, broken on the hard ground.
The pool of blood fills his veins,
He does not fall in a freak accident.
He climbs back to the bottom step
And a picture taken disappears.
His luggage circles the belt counter-clockwise
To where he doesn’t throw it upside down
With the yellow tag waving on top.
He races back from the plane
He doesn’t take; he begins college
With no dreams of sightseeing the world…
He catches the baseball my son whips to him
From the pitcher’s mound and gets the winning out.
The team hugs and high-fives.
I cheer with his mom on
The hot metal bleachers as they
Battle the home run derby.
His smile stretches across the rest of
The Long Beach Marines, under their blue caps.
And they stay twelve…
Before they have phones
to message me the bad news.
But God has set the time to move forward.
I cannot be annoyed at
what I don’t understand;
only trust his words:
“Oh death, where is thy sting?
Oh grave, where is thy victory?”
Church bells chime, sounding
"Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” I Corinthians 15:55-56
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