At a Roadside Table

They came
grimy, hungry, worn—
shedding work gloves, hard hats,
orange vests—and dropped down heavily
at a near-by table.
With surprising neatness
they unloaded black
lunch buckets, carefully spreading
napkins and placing food in
precise eating order.
Then, as if by one accord,
heads lifted, all eyes met …
heads bowed …
and while traffic roared relentlessly by,
one offered a sincere and prolonged
word of prayer—thanking the Lord
for all blessings of the day
and for food prepared by loving hands.
I, who until then, had looked on
in silent amusement
suddenly felt a tightening
in my throat and a wetness
on my cheeks.


Like Samuel loaned then given back, my son,
I thank our Father for these first few years,
knowing even now when you return
your stay will not be long until you range
in wider orbits chosen for your own,
intersecting Kolob in your flight.
Yet, even if I could, I would not change
the plan. What you see at parting, these tears
I brush back from my cheek, are tears of joy.
We taught each other: surely parents learn
much more than they can ever teach a boy.
Eternal tones of Love, familiar voices,
call us gently somewhere from the darkness,
whispering through an ancient temple night.