SJ (July 27,1953 / Ludington, Michigan)

Rituals

In the late evening
They sat down at the table,
Picking casually at the food
Adding what conversation they were able.

They broke the bread,
Spoke of the mundane and trivial,
A jab at humor here and there,
This became the evening ritual.

They were familiar strangers,
Never looking into each others eyes,
Deaf to the sound of words,
Hiding their muffled cries.

Softly clearing the table of debris,
Folding napkins as a vestment,
Retreating to the fireside altar,
Silently writing their testament.

Two enjoined for convenience
Rituals shared for the ages,
Yet with one's passage comes emptiness,
Ending the life in final stages.

by Sidney Johnson

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