Commute

Jason Roberts

In a darkened corner
of this industrial
town’s shadow-lit morning,
a church’s one light
     flowers—
a lost invitation
to factory workers,
truck drivers, and greasers
too busy to notice
headstones trailing away
from the back of the church
into the blackened pines.
Some mornings, I pretend
these silhouettes in fog,
squat stone markers, lead to
god in his starry tomb.
Maybe there, maybe not.
Other mornings, the plots
unfold into nothing
but disconsolation
and the unknowable:
What happens after our
bodies and thoughts are stilled?
Do cells keep singing their
mitochondrial songs
in another language?
Do we awaken to
pure light behind our flesh?
Who keeps counting after
our endless numbered days?
Over the bridge near work,
traffic hunkers down for
December’s machine, where
questions and answers are
elusive and distant
as a dream of a dream.
Blind wheels ever turning.


Jason Roberts has degrees in automotive mechanics and English, as well as a master’s in counseling. He lives with his wife and two dogs in Spartanburg, South Carolina, where he works at a state-managed mental health facility. He is also currently a volunteer facilitator for Recovering from Religion, and he hosts a monthly dinner called called “The Conversation” for religious and nonreligious individuals.

Jason Roberts

Jason Roberts has degrees in automotive mechanics and English, as well as a master's in counseling. He lives with his wife and two dogs in Spartanburg, South Carolina, where he works at a state-managed mental health facility. He is also currently a volunteer facilitator for Recovering from Religion, and he hosts a monthly dinner called “The Conversation” for religious and nonreligious individuals.


The poem from the December 2014/January 2015 issue of Free Inquiry.

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