Five hundred, twenty five thousand, six hundred minutes.
Some of them we don't remember because we’re deep in sleep. Some we don't remember because our unconscious will not keep.
How quickly-with lightning flash- some minutes pass.
How slow –the smoothing of the stone in the river- some minutes are.
Do we have a destiny, does our faith decide?,
Are we just soulful lights, moving with the tide?
I know where my soul was 525,600 minutes ago.
It was in the darkest of tunnels, where your eyes hurt because they cannot comprehend the depth of the darkness.
I worked for the darkness. The tunnel owned me, used me, to do it unending work.
Is it the tunnel before heaven, the tunnel before hell? I’ll never tell.
I do know that my hands, my soul, my quiet, reverberating flashlight in the void is the last many know in this life.
One short, infinite year ago, I was the angel of death.
Old, broken, confused souls came into my care, Put there by broken limb or loved ones; no difference there.
I would watch, unflinching, as they withered and then ceased. Some suddenly in crimson, airless gasps. Some slowly, drowning from the inside, till the heart gave out at last. Go they did, as we all do.
I, Angel, guided them down the dark tunnel as best I could.
Some were heartbreaking, slow walks. Some, I had to run to keep up with.
But an angel's thoughts or feelings does not change the pull of the tunnel.
For seven hundred and twenty hallowed minutes of the night, she must take the hand of each soul and show them, in their last moments of lighted life, a soft, warm glowing lantern of affection, compassion, gentleness and courage.
The minutes melt into days. Days turn to weeks.
The weeks had become months, when the angel finally begin to realize and understand.
With each soul she led and released into the void, like a feather into a canyon,
With each heartbeat her stethoscope didn’t hear,
Every salty drop of grief that dampened her angel’s uniform, also wetted her wings.
Each soul took
a tiny piece of her
into the chasm.
It was a hundred thousand minutes before she realized that the angel of death can only be an angel for so long
before the candle of compassion within her dims and winks out.
In her future, she only sees herself becoming
to the edge of the black.
Only one way. Don’t stay.
Angel could be released from her dark duties, but only by the strength of her own hand.
Change everything, leave it all. Sacrifice, risk a fall.
But to leave the darkness she knew for so long.
So many voices,
they pushed walls against her,
but she used her wings to conquer each one.
So the Angel saved up money,
then finally bought a mini fridge.
Those first 161,280 minutes were lonely, almost as black as the place she left.
But slowly, like the descent of a snowflake,
a light flickered from above for angel.
It was long shifts for short tips,
and book burn on her nose.
But for the first time there was a warm, growing glow
at the end of the deep dark,
a light to strive for, one that was all her own.
With only five hundred twenty five thousand, six hundred minutes to go,
this angel has left the duties of death behind her,
regained her ability to bring hope and joyful care.
I walk a path
that will allow me to bring light to other souls, instead of lead them into the darkness.
The memory of the abyss serves
a shadowy but stark reminder
to keep moving forward.
525,600 minutes ago this angel of healing
decided to defy the odds. Now I’ve found
that outside of the tunnel,
I can spend my wings so much farther.