“Deep is calling on deep,
in the roar of waters:
your torrents and all your waves
swept over me.”
—Psalm 42:8


I remember you in the backseat
of an old friend’s old suburban
driving south to St. Anne’s parish for a meeting
of priests and men who would be priests, one day
(or wanted to be
or might want to be, one day)
and you told me unabashedly what you really
really wanted to do
was build Lego structures.

A familiar voice on the radio sings a song I love.
“What do I know of holy?”
Addison Road, she sings, Addison Road,
for a few minutes. Then
silence.

I remember you kneeling beside me
in a church youth center,
that rare place where couches and crucifixes coexist:
the couch and the crucifix and the big TV and
God
universe-maker, father, king beyond all comprehension
Love who made you, made me
brother
who was man like you were, I am, who was
bread.

We talked face to face
and you leaned on me
and I leaned on you.

Two candles burn in a darkened room.
“Are you fire? Are you fury?”
Prayers rise like smoke from a burning wick until you
breathe out,
breathe it
out.

I remember you with me in an upper room
a dark and drafty room filled with sleeping bags
filled with sleeping boys.
You told me you thought your house was haunted.
It strikes me now
all of our houses are.

I remember you on a bus in a field on a waterslide in a dorm at Gonzaga U and
again
in the presence of God
in as unlikely a place as an auditorium
with the lights down low. They sang,
“You lead me out upon the waters.”
Jesus walked up and down the aisles where we knelt and adored.

A hug lasts as long as you like.
Ten seconds? Fifteen?
“What do I know of you?”
(“Why am I smiling?” he sings. “And why do I sing?”)
It never lasts long, never long
enough.

And I remember, though I was not there,
the look on your face as the roar of the waters swept over you
and the chill of the depths closed in
I remember the terror, what consuming
what raw
what waterfall-wild
terror
must have torn your heart I remember
your struggling
your stretching out your hand
your best friend who grabbed it
to pull you free.

I remember you dancing.
“Singing in the rain,” you sang,
“singing in the rain.”

And I remember, though I was not there,
the moment when you knew this was the end.
Jesus spoke softly to you then
deep calling on deep in the roar of waters
and you surrendered to him then
with the same easy joy you always have.

Two hands held tight against the beat of many waters,
against the beating, even,
of your hearts.

The smoke rises when the light is extinguished.
To live forever, all you need to do is die.
“Where have I even stood, but the soil along your ocean?”
My soul will rest in your embrace
when oceans rise.

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