This month Dave has been leading a group of people through some conversations about loving our neighbors. Our homework last week involved walking through the neighborhood in intentionality and prayer. It was a crazy week - full of surprising interactions with all kinds of people. I wrote this poem based on the exercise.
(As yet untitled!)
His eyes are wide, face dirty
as he toddles toward the road
and his mother steers him back
to their patch of grass
in front of Burger King.
A passing stranger gives him a few dollars, all folded up together.
Another brings diapers,
and a toy or two.
Your story is written in sidewalk chalk
along the streets of this city
Tell it –
tell it loudly -
before it is erased by the march of passing feet.
She runs around the corner, too fast
and dives headlong into the sidewalk,
arms outstretched like superman.
There is no cry –
she is up and running before
her fall is even noticed.
Your story is written
in your dive for the pavement
it is etched in the dust
which marks the palms of your hands.
Tell it loudly, tell it now –
while you are young,
and nothing hurts you yet.
“It will be a lucky month for you,”
“You think too much. I see it written
in the lines on your skin.”
A mother explains to her little girl,
“Some people just know things.”
Your story is written
in the lines of your skin
the creases of worry in your forehead.
Tell it now, tell it aloud
and the lines of worry will begin to fade.
Her car spins in a half-circle
smashed in at least a foot;
shattered glass covers the road.
walkers stop – watching, gawking,
bringing bottled water and helping hands.
Your story is written in broken glass,
swept up by neighbors
meeting each other for the first time.
Tell it, tell it loudly –
tell it now, because you survive.
“All I want
Is a woman to take care of me,” he screams,
inches from her face.
She stands stoic,
Later she will whisper the secrets of his crimes
to a passerby –
her act of rebellion
nearly too soft to make out.
Your story is written in unshed tears
on the sidewalks of our city.
Tell it, tell it now –
Tell it softly; it will make you safe.
The concrete slowly gives up the day’s warmth
and the streetlight sentries take their places.
Our story is written
in the streets
in the lights
on the sidewalks.
Tell it – tell it now –
we will write it together
with the sweat of our joined hands.
Anyone have a title suggestion?