Encounters of the Diverse & Forlorn

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.

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