We Are the Eighth Day, © Melanie Weidner


Goodbye Solo

An old Senegalese proverb says, “An elder who dies is like a library that burns.” This belief is at the heart of the small but moving independent film Goodbye Solo, directed and co-written by Ramin Bahrani. It’s also the conviction that drives the main character, Solo (Souléymane Sy Savané), an upbeat Senegalese immigrant to the U.S.


I dream of grace. The tongue that might have praised,
that might have sung forgiveness equal to
the sum of all the mercy God shot through
Creation when his stone-sealed Son blazed

awake, the light to light betrayal’s dark
design, is swollen black in the hole that was
a mouth; my brother, Judas, hanged the ark
of his redemption. Still, I dream of grace.

I dream I take him from his tree, and lift
him up to life. Should one betrayal cost
a soul—eternity demand such thrift
of grace the lost remain forever lost—

how then my three denials be forgiven?
Christ, Savior, buy your chosen back for Eden.


On music

The world’s most popular rock band lives in constant contradiction. As U2 itself put it in the 1988 hit “God Part II”: “I don’t believe in riches, but you should see where I live.” The group at times proclaims Christ with power and passion, but it seems equally capable of cunning calculation.


The farmer has shown up with the sun,
the two conspiring to work the land together.

It’s May. Time for blades to dig in.
Furrow a fresh start.

And you’d like to join in. You’d like to whistle
the sun over to you like an obedient dog,

tell it to sit, right there, and stay while you seek
forgiveness. For too long, you’ve been trapped,

burrowing with your bare hands tunnel after dead-
end tunnel, stubborn, refusing to change

direction as you search for the yellow face
of escape to glow before your eyes, unveil

the mysterious egress. Go.
You can see it now. Turn

your hands over like the dirt at your knees,
the soil on that field. And go.

Leave your flashlight behind.