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Use Your Words

“In the course of acquiring all this so-called knowledge, I’ve lost something. I’ve lost contact with something that I had. I wonder about myself now. I haven’t shouted ‘Hallelujah!’ for a long time, you know? Can I do it once more? I would like to believe that.”                      ~Athol Fugard, South African playwright on NPR’s Morning Edition

Every day, I hear something fading in and out
I must remember.
Today, it’s NPR on my way to work.
Static and the road don’t matter.
I copy this down—
a South African playwright
in the business of words since before apartheid
Says, “I haven’t shouted Hallelujah for a long time
Can I do it once more?”
The question always before us.
Of course, he can. He does.

Today will swallow me whole,
nagging details, brilliant smiles, meetings,
nothing on the order of saving
a country’s soul with my words.
So I write his down with frozen fingers
Eyes on the long straightaway
One shining sentence to stand for this man
who I won’t lose now,
even in the deluge of the day.

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