Small deaths

Jesus suffered the small deaths of life.

Losses of Joseph and John.

Rejected in His hometown.

Being misunderstood
by His followers and the crowds.

Grieving over Lazarus.

Angered by the condition
of His Father’s house.  

Denied by Peter.

Betrayed by Judas.

The bullshit trial.

Which lead to His Big Death

That blessed us 
(as we suffer 
our own small deaths)
never to experience
the curse of a
Big Death.

The Day After Sinatra Married Mia Farrow

So the coffee would stay hot all morning 
Edna, the large-boned Dutch waitress, 
her face and throat flushed from the heat 
would first fill my thermos with boiling water 
in the Circle Diner on Kutztown Road, 
this July morning steamy and loud 
with a highway crew at the counter, 
two grizzled mailmen in the side booth 
and us from the nearby construction site, 
a job I loved for its noise and fresh air, 
screwing big lag bolts into the sills 
of Caloric Stove's new factory warehouse, 
the whirr of the countersink drilling the wood, 
clean white hemlock or spruce

and when one of the mailmen heads for the door 
Edna calls out to him "Hey Jack 
how you think Frank's feeling this morning?" 
Smoke from the grill and the cook's cigar 
clouding the wide glass window: 
Frank, 20 years her senior, 
stepping from Sam Giancana's limo 
or else whispering One For My Baby 
into the spotlight: his death 
in his voice with its flawless control, 
his slanted fedora and raincoat, 
his glittering life we could only imagine

though most of us are laughing by now 
wolfing our hot cakes and eggs 
when the old man yells back, "Tired as hell!" 
pulling his hat down low at the door, 
happy enough to be going to work 
on a Friday under the dawnwashed sky 
of Johnson's Great Society, 
with the Lehigh Valley opening its thighs 
and the weekend gorged with promise.

Joseph Millar