Sarah Caulfield

Last Mass for the Fallen

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today, in honour of those who
burnt every last bridge, including the ones ahead. We anoint them with the ashes of
their fall from grace, and remind ourselves that even up to the last hour, God thought
Lucifer best and most beautiful of his flock. May I remind you all that in striking that last match there is no cause for condemnation; we are but children, and we are carved from error.

We will now sing hymn number thirty-four: you are the best failure you know.
The chorus is especially uplifting.

Dearly beloved, let us believe in a cure for the nights without end. Let us pray for those who live on the wrong side of an eclipse and tell themselves they have not yet suffered enough for the sun, who make happiness a currency enjoyed best and only by the success stories. A moment of silence, please, for the drop-outs, the boomerang kids, the all-nighter, full-fighter, half-bleeding-but-only-half:

for the kids who are told it will get better and go on into the good night on some barely-baked faith that it must be so,
for the kids who try and swallow their dark nights of the soul,
for the hungry starving raging lonesome,
the children with chips on their broken shoulders,
who choke on every feel-good story they try to take in,
who are yoked so heavily they cannot lift their heads to save their life:

Let us not make sutures a martyrdom, dearly beloved.
All who survive are fragile.
All who survive are miracles.
All who survive are deserving, all are angels up to the last hour.
There are no failures in this church.

Please turn to page forty for our offertory hymn.

Let us rise.

Sarah Caulfield is the author of Spine (Headmistress Press, 2017). Her work has appeared in Lavender Review, Indolent Books, Voicemail Poems, and others. She has lived in Poland, Germany and the UK and currently lives in Japan. She tweets at @holden1779. Her Patreon is here.