Amazing Grace: Charleston, 2015

Maya Khosla

The leader sings it, and all rise. Sings
of the hush, irrevocable. Sings of
tumult, the song like a storm roaring
between past and present. All join in.
The song entering each singer as an
anthem of faith re-emerging as dirge.
Each singer an island, an orphaned
silence filled. The nine named over
and over. The books lying open. The
whispers. Dust bits hanging in a slant
of sun. Now the song as memory of
the vanished. As a way of counting
them one by one. What is lost,
replenished by grace. Each mouth full
of words incinerated, carrying on. For
none of the extinguished will go
voiceless. Mouths full of prayer will
hear them – listening forever creased
by heartbreak. A thousand songs.
Faces and candles from here to the
horizon, and more. The hymn
multiplies into a living continent of
song. All sing it. All rise.