I move among others different from me, stand-up guys who read the papers and have never seen the breadth and length and depth and height. I sit vigil at gravesides, in hospitals and cells. We were discharged. We live where we used to rip. It's dark here, not like before, just bleak and rough. I catch your eye, you saw it too, you've walked down that alley too. We’re alone with the time traveller. We are left, but we haven't left them behind; he’s gone, but he keeps calling us back.
This place is a pit. How can anyone live here, ankle-deep in pizza boxes, cans, bottles, scrips, each one a fingerprint, each a phone number, each a snapshot of someone we loved or hated. It’s where we belong. It’s where they all will always belong, even the ones like him who paid the full price to belong somewhere else. They can smile and puke here, and most of the time someone will hold their hand. He has been here before; he’ll be back. With Olympian grace he pulls apart the swinging doors and displays a horizon we never crossed. He draws us toward it, delicately gesturing toward each safety pin, acknowledging every rumpled empty bedsheet on every sagging couch. I say that’s a rueful half-smile; you tell me it’s grief struggling to claim every muscle in his face. It’s nine-thirty, but the sun’s not up yet. We’re not sure it’s going to rise.
By A.K.M. Adam. A.K.M. Adam is a Lecturer in New Testament at the University of Glasgow's Department of Theology and Religious Studies. His blog is available here. His writing and editing credits include What is Postmodern Biblical Criticism? (1995), Making Sense of New Testament Theology (1995), A Grammar of New Testament Greek (1999), A Handbook of Postmodern Biblical Interpretation and Postmodern Interpretations of the Bible: A Reader (2000); and "What These Cryptic Symbols Mean: Quotation, Allusion and John Darnielle's Biblical Interpretation," Biblical Interpretation, A Journal of Contemporary Approaches, ed. H. Pyper, v. 19, no. 2, pp. 109-128 (2011).