There are times when the ache of a northwestern wind
sends a renewing stir of still wary memory
of days spent working in unheated space
when I could trace the lancing cold
as it moved along my bones,
making me long for the warmth of home
and a quiet chair in front of softly crackling flames
dancing in the shadows of a black-framed hearth.

I remember wondering what it would be like
to die stranded and alone in the slowly killing chill,
to feel life leaving one cell at a time
until that last lingering flicker dulls in the mind
and finally finds nothing else to hold on to
and simply fades away and all becomes darkness.

The closest I’ve found—and it’s more than close enough—
is walking in loneliness beyond the feel of friendship,
a sense of distance that cannot be bridged
no matter whether standing alone on some ridge
of bare-crested stone in the pale glow of a crescent moon,
or sitting in a crowded room of people you’ve known for years
afraid of showing the slightest sense of what’s going on right now
in that echoing shell that has grown inside you.

And there’s not a day that goes by
that I don’t close my eyes and sigh a prayer of thanksgiving,
grateful to my core
that I do not live there anymore.
Thankful that I found 
mercy beyond merit,
grace beyond belief,
love beyond measure.

H. Arnett

About Doc Arnett

Native of southwestern Kentucky currently living in Ark City, Kansas, with my wife of twenty-nine years, Randa. We have, between us, eight children and twenty-eight grandkids. We enjoy singing, worship, remodeling and travel.
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