She gave what she could in her purse to the black boy,
And crumpled what remained into a small paper ball.
Squeezed the green into wet leaves, pushed damp to
Her many life lines, like it was rainy in the corner of
one half of her empty, praying palms. He asked for a tooth pick.
She gave him an orange Life Saver and a busted balloon.
It was all she had left to give, and he took it with relish and
Ran without touching the ground. She followed him with her
Eyes for several miles—or so it seemed—and he never once
Turned around. Questioning the entire concept of living
Alone with the Lord, she faced December’s sun (lonelier
Than any other she’d known) and whispered a troubled
Hallelujah to the gathered silence. A nearby shadow
Nodded along. And she built an idea from scratch and
Empty pockets. An idea handed down really, from many
Miles distant, from a mother she can’t remember—unless
It’s Christmas. A mother buried well below the surface,
And floating in the mouth of what’s too quiet, too cold.
She gave what she could in her heart to the black boy,
And crumpled the dark of what remained into a small
Bloody ball. It’ll have to be enough for now. “For now”
Is all she has left; all she might care to part with.