5 Replies to “6.3.2013 Journal Prompt”

  1. I remember as a child sitting once in front of the tv and watching the news. I watched a captive man, and he was kneeling, his hands tied behind his back and a blindfold to hide his eyes. The black and white picture was not clear and there was no sound, just the crackle and hiss of a bad recording, but I could tell the man was begging for something. Beside him stood a soldier and I think he knew there was a camera on him and he held a gun to the captive man’s head and he pulled the trigger.

    When a man dies the world steps back in shock and birds stop their singing and the sun slips behind a cloud.

    That one piece of newsclip was played over and over, and that night each time I watched it I was hoping that this time it would end different, but it never did. And as the dead man slumped slack forward in the dust there was a silence in the room where I was, the kind of silence where heartbeats are loud drums and every breath is a roaring wind.

    Today, more than forty years later, they buried a man in a place that was not his own place. There were no songs and no prayers. They laid him without ceremony in the ground and they covered him in black dirt. I stood by and watched; and I cried.

    I cried not for the man, for he could be cruel and bad; I cried not for the songs that were not sung, or for the prayers that were not said, or for the flowers that there should have been but were not.

    The world should take pause when a man dies – any man. The world should hold its breath and heartbeats should run slow and birds should give up their song for long enough that people may consider and sigh and be heard.

    But today they buried a man and the world did not stop, did not even notice that he was gone. That same world that felt outrage at the death of a man on the news all those years ago. Today they buried a man, and even those who shoveled the dirt on top of his cheap-wood coffin, even they were singing and they did not lift their hats or give pause to show respect. And for that I cried.

    And now, as I sit on the mid-day bus that takes me into work, I feel bereft and I wish then that the man we buried was back in the world again, so that I might say to him something of worth – after all, that man was my father once.

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