“Learning Grace” by Dan Overgaard

I. His Energy

Pushed up like wheat by prairie energy,
he came uprooted in a holy wind
and tumbled west, blacktop to ministry
unrolling, congregations without end.
Then fragrant oceans called. Their spicy breath,
along with urgent verses, interrupted sleep
to pull them both—through sickness and in health—
by boat and ox-cart, elephant and Jeep.
Lord in the morning lit him with the Word,
with eloquent translations in the sun.
Small kids were wide-eyed at the white they heard,
and villagers would murmur in refrain.
      Blessed with assurance, restless after prayer,
      he plowed from dawn to grace, through foreign air.

II. Her Diagnosis

She couldn’t match a color with its word
or call our names whenever we would meet,
but she could hum a chorus to the Lord
and end that chorus on the proper beat.
She couldn’t write or read. If she had known,
these losses would have been a heavy cross.
She couldn’t pray. But drifting in her own
sweet way, she’d often pause to touch those she would pass.
She hiked around and round the cottage yard.
The gate was locked for safety. That same sun,
as all those years in Thailand, landed hard.
Ironically, it’s here she’s much more tan.
      Reading these indications on her face,
      we learned her diagnosis: Late Stage Grace.

Dan Overgaard was born and raised in Thailand. He attended Westmont College, dropped out, moved to Seattle, became a transit operator, then managed transit technology projects and programs. He’s now retired and catching up on reading. His poems have appeared in The Galway Review, Shark Reef, Willawaw Journal, As It Ought To Be Magazine, Glass Poetry: Poets Resist, The High Window, Canary Lit Mag, Shot Glass Journal, Allegro Poetry, Triggerfish Critical Review and other journals. Read more at: danovergaard.com.