Happy fall, everyone! It’s Kate Betts with out latest Writers’ Corner piece. This poem, “Praying for Asteroids”, is by Jarrod Fouts.
Praying for Asteroids
by Jarrod Fouts
Every night before I go to sleep I say a prayer:
Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
When you wake me O Lord
I pray it will be to a flaming asteroid
I want a big space rock to hit the earth
Not a meteorite that you can collect off the ground after a meteor shower and feel
wonderment at everything like birth
or make a keychain out of
I’m talking an asteroid, like a giant angry fist sent down from above
I want its descent to be covered by every news station
I want to turn on the TV and then watch it never come on again
I want to watch the sky turn colors as the earth is shaking and baking
Because when an asteroid strikes the earth, it will be chaos.
After maybe ten seconds of looting and rioting people will stop
Then the tears will drop
In the crowded cities with skyscrapers melting, people will be running
for the subways, arm in arm, no longer conscious of things like religion or race
People who never would’ve spoken to each other while making judgments from
a distance will be holding and kissing each other’s face
The old white man who was afraid of the black teenager he saw earlier today
Is now helping him to a safer place in an alleyway
And for a moment the white man sees, when the kid speaks
He has thoughts and fears and hopes and dreams
And then he breaks the rules with a bit of dangerous thinking:
Just. like. me.
It will be a symphony orchestra of what shouldn’t be first-time sights
Under generator operated floodlights
People will see the color of their neighbor’s eyes
Blues and greens and blacks and browns too
There will be no more argument between the Muslim or Christian or Jew
In that moment it will just be
God loves you
And I do too
And as the ash plumes rise taller than the mountains, shooting up to blacken the clouds
Then come back down in a thunderous pitter patter
Some will be screaming and crying.
Some will void their bladders.
Some will shout and sing and laugh and pray
The evangelical preacher won’t think about the fact that the man he is holding the gushing wound of is gay.
And though it’s been a while, this heart that was angry and full of ice, will with these simple gestures
truly turn to follow Christ.
And as the world is covered in the thick soot, each man buried from head to foot.
The initial regret of a life wasted, deluged in negatives will fade away.
Because as they succumb, each and every one
They will be able to say “I was human today.”