By the Time I Arrived, It Was Too Late

By the time I got there it was too late.
The bartender was drying the last of the glasses.
All the drunks were either lying on the floor
Or already driving, weaving home
As best they could, knowing that they should
Go soberly to church upon the morning’s dawn.

The lights flash on and off, arresting them at first,
Stories in their minds gathering a storm,
Fearful that at last the curse of drink
Had finally caught, exposed the shame,
Hidden disgrace now published where all would read
Guilt spilled out on complicated streets.

Oh, Jesus… let them go safely home.
Forgive the heavy spirits that seize upon their hearts.
Let them walk through the wreckage of their lives,
Finally to learn from whatever source or pain.
Spread wings of love released that they
Might drink surrender and know authentic peace.
Plant in springtime yet to come such seeds
That birds will sing no more of drunken grief.


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