'Grace'

People never use this word
in a secular sense,
but how the atheist needs to
today! And why not?

The name of a concept
still less stingy
than kindness or clemency,
it is an expansive word,
a safe word; in some ways,
a sophisticated word.

The atheist, granted grace,
owes nothing,
and retains a dignity
that clemency did not allow.

Grace, the promise
of breathing room,
has room to work,
and recovers room for words
the atheist asked
for grace to speak.