Advent 2016: Solstice Prayer

Solstice Prayer

Fire in the Night,
Friend in Suffering,
there is so much to grieve.
The list of homeless people who died
in my town this year
is read on the steps of City Hall.
The mayor is there, 100 faithful folk,
a sub-par PA system
amplifying 35 names
that feel like 10,00 when they are said aloud.
My children and I stand with our candles,
dripping wax all over the sidewalk,
no idea what to do
except keep shivering in the cold,
keep bearing witness,
keep testifying that these 35 are precious,
more precious, even, than any billionaire
or lawmaker or stadium-filler,
their brief lights and tragic lives
unaccountably shining bright
on this longest night of the year.