I don’t often let bits of old religion glimmer into my poems with honesty, but I’m in a mood this morning, and there it is. NaPoWriMo offered photos for an ekphrastic prompt; I didn’t really take them up completely on it, but here’s the photo that I had a resonance with:
Tying it into the Poem-a-thon theme once again, lightly. Guilt-and-humility poetry is a lot harder to write than it looks, guys, at least with integrity. I’m not thrilled with this one’s form, but at least it’s true.
Patrick tells me that he and his wife have opened
their home to the homeless: the first floor becomes
an emergency B+B in the winter. They’ve stocked
towels, coffee, soap, cereal, change. Nobody stays
more than one night, but they have a list of other
Samaritans’ numbers to complete the circuit of hope.
This reminds me of my friend Mose, who took in
an Alaskan boy, Kevin, hitchhiking across the country
after his parents kicked him out. Mose found him
cruising our usual dive: a week later, his hair untangled
and his skin unearthed with body wash archaeology,
Kevin’s face regained life. Mose didn’t touch him once.
When I track through the frozen city, I keep one hand
tucked in my pocket, dollars ready, but no one about.
I’ve seen the cagey looks that go with the ready hand:
grates and shelters are safer than following strangers.
I see a huddled shape and give, but want to give more.
I want to be trusted, to know what giving is for.