An Atheist’s Prayer to His Faithful Friends

Facing wonder
Envy
Humility
My small back bowed
To divine
A scrap of insight

I watch my faithful friends
Bent and twisted under the burden
Taking comfort in our communion

They murmur
Feel the weight grow
Between us

Knowing
I do not know
How they rise
So easily

It is heavy
This failure
To straighten our backs
Together

Every time we shut our eyes
We shrink to our knees
Every time the morning beckons
We beg to know
Like an honest prayer
That goes unanswered

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After and Before

Having lived a life full of children and grandchildren, spouses and lovers, work and adventure, with enough integrity in the end to apply the vague term happiness, Chandra is strangely disconcerted to discover death does not equal non-existence.
At first Chandra assumes the windy, dark luminescence is part of the death process, until there is no sequence of events, no movement, no curiosity, and no reason to get there.
Yet Chandra remembers being Chandra, indistinctly, as if memories are dreams of time and space minus history and reason.
Chandra has a sense, not one of the five, but complete and neutral. Chandra wants to call it a feeling of the soul because there is no choice but to borrow familiar nomenclature.
The dark wind feels like enveloping water, Chandra drowning calmly without fear that time will lead to an unknowable future, or that space could propose any obstacle.
And the familiar is a cookied page haunting Chandra’s soul, filling its emptiness, blowing in the luminescence, a benign virus swirling in the water.
When the water breaks and the womb births Chandra remembers Chandra for milliseconds or millennia before the nurse slaps Chandra’s bottom, a new breath is drawn, and the memory of Chandra is lost in the after and before.