Because I can answer the questions, I do
Because I can solve the problems, I do
Because I can see my new ex-girlfriend’s mother wilting,
Her shoulders stooped as she begins a diabetic dive,
While her daughter packs boxes, asking which soup
Ladle she can take. “Take them all” I say as I
Prepare her mother a cheese plate with neatly sliced
Cheese and fanned out crackers. I do that too.
Her mother looks from the party plate to my eyes
Sweat on her upper lip from stress and low blood sugar
“You always do too much” she says as she marries a
Slice of cheddar to a Triscuit and takes a bite of relief.
Because I can calm their anxiety, I do
Because I can get it done faster, I do
Because I can hear his tension simmering through the phone
When his proceeds haven’t arrived from the sale that closed
Two days ago, I sit in the theater’s 5th row center seat, clutching
My phone and coordinating a solution. Before the curtain goes up
I text the lawyer and the manager with instructions and suggestions,
Constructing a plan before the lights go dim. I do that too.
Because I know all this, every summer morning I breathe
Crushed lavender buds held to my nose in my cupped hands.
Because I know all this, as often as I can (yes, often),
I escape the phone calls and demands for an hour or two,
While I stroll through gardens of tulips and poppies with
My camera in hand, inhaling beauty and streaming sunshine,
And exhaling worry wrapped in brown paper packages tied
Tight with twine, happily littering the garden’s perfect grounds.
Burdens I had accepted are scattered among the tulip petals.
Her closing eyes resonated suffering, dismay, sadness and the deepest sense of empathy, The old white woman simultaneously revealed all those emotions along with an ocean’s depth of despair. She demonstrated each feeling in a slow deliberate closing when she listened to the account.
Immigration officers in flak jackets raided the mushroom house in the next town over. They took away eight terrified workers, foraging elbow deep in compost, in a handcuffed line. It was a different eight taken than the four who were sought.
In the panic and despair no one checked the warrant. Or checked for a warrant for that matter. Actual details were sketchy but of this it was clear. The owner had shuffled in the shadowy space, speaking noncommittal mumblings wondering who would grub tomorrow. And tomorrow wide-eyed brown children waited pointlessly for parents who were not coming home.
The old white woman absorbed the account in despair and submerged in a silent meditation for love.
And a silent prayer for empathy.
And she silently raged against all that’s gone missing in this callous cruel time.
We boil over with dumbfounded outrage
Stumbling disoriented in our disbelief
Feeling blindly for reason in the absurd
Maze of bigoted hate devoid of decency
While Camus chuckles “I-told-you-so”
We convulse uncontrollable gushing tears
In disbelief as swift hateful actions spawn
Tsunami waves flooding our cherished values
Rampaging an unknown path of Un-American
Torture casually threatening our morality
We resist hate and division as patriots
Screaming loudly “inclusion and justice for all”
Crowding terminal prisons with stalwart
Intention roaring for decency stretching toward
Downtrodden refugees huddled, tired and poor
We deliver freshly born shaky legged protestors
Born out of need ascending steep escalator
Canals flooded with brave pink-hatted women
And men who tightly grab loving hands and kindness
Fresh-minted activists homemade signs held high