Poem: Brisket and Grace

Brisket and Grace

Dinner is brisket, steeped in Carolina Barbeque sauce,
not a thing you expected in Portland, Maine.
There is a bar of course, a big neon sign flashes
“Johnson’s Radiator and Automotive”.

Two friends having dinner in the time of coronavirus.
too long distanced, easily reconnected
by journeys different, and yet similar in pain
and roadblocks and the rediscovery

of what is left with the scars begin to heal,
what is old and what is new, and what is left
to discover. There is understanding and laughter,
and a time or two you both hover on tears.

The brisket is tasty. The beans are not.
The cornbread is thick and warm, singing for butter.
It is a strange thing to live in places that do not feel like home,
but at the same time, no longer feel strange,

to be with a friend separated by years and false starts,
connected by that most holy thing, grace.
Grace given. Grace received. Never understood,
it has to be felt to become real.

The road home has snow and fog
and the dim red lights of other travelers.
The sound of wet snow rustles through your wheel wells.
and you wonder sometimes if the destination matters.

The night’s conversation swirls around you,
less the words than the spirit of the night.
In an age of separation and fears,
the reconnection feels like magic.

The smell of leftover brisket fills the far.
You smile gently to yourself.
The memory of healing as strong as the healing itself.

About this poem.

In the Christian faith, the definition of the word “Grace” is “unmerited favor”. In the church, we use the word to talk about God’s unconditional love. But it also works for people. Those who love us through our flaws and falls.

I had dinner night before last with such a friend in my life, traveling to Portland, Maine to visit for a night.

It’s always worth it.


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