Singular Soul of a Man

Today’s prompt was to write an elegy emphasizing a person’s unique traits. Suddenly, I couldn’t remember one person who had died who had any traits to emphasize. I knew for sure that wasn’t true, so I made myself think of someone I vaguely knew and ended with a priest from my childhood, Father Kreutzer. I don’t even know if that’s how his name is spelled. I don’t even know if all the traits I remember as his really belong to him. Nevertheless, this is my draft of an elegy which I know is still more of a eulogy, so I’ll continue to revise.

Some people stand out
Only when we know them–
Otherwise, blending in
With other passers by
On the street like
Black-and-white film extras
Without notice; forever cast
As part of the crowd.

We should recall that
He was such a man
A German-kind of
Old guy–the perfect
Bent and stocky–sagging
jowls parenthesized with lines
So deep even a smile could
Look like a scowl

Bushy, brilliantly white
Brows guarded tiny
Blue orbs frozen in
A perpetual squint
A kid could be forgiven
Thinking him an
Eternally angry image
Of the wrath of god

A child could be excused
Avoiding the line
To his confessional
For others more
Confessing-kid congenial
Even his name “Kreutzer”
Could conjure vivid
Visions of vexing hell

But it would do him
Right to remember
How he stood circled
By school children in
The black-topped
Parking lot which
Passed as playground
On weekdays at St. Al’s

That curved pipe held
In his mouth like
Santa Claus, the majestic
Carved Indian head
As the bowl bouncing
In rhythm to a real,
Cheering chuckle quaking
from a rotund belly

He deserves that
We resurrect him
As a package of
Sudden surprises–surely
Students somberly seated in
Sister Jolene Marie’s
Learned from his lecture
“Lying Without Lying”
(Confirmation preparation!)

And past parishioners should
smile with simple memory
As he’d bend his “cracking”
Knees to lead his
Most precious prayer
In his very particular way
“Hail Mary, FULLY graced.”

When we knew him
We should not overlook . . .
But looked forward to
Because he cared
Beyond a doubt
He was really with us
And we with him
Singular soul of a man.

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