Tuesday, May 03, 2005

His hands shook

His hands shook as I answered the door,
His hat twisted in his hands,
his hair streaked with white, his eyes with red,
He frenetically moved down the stairs and
then up as he assisted his slow moving sister
who comported herself as a Madonna
her countenance patient and
possessing the scars of long lasting pain,
Her motions deliberate and slow,
she descended into the depths of the building.

Seated in the two blue wingback chairs,
He choose to stand and moved around the room
attracted first to one thing and then another,
like a bee who cannot find nectar, he dipped into
one thing and then another until he finally came to rest
in a hard straight backed chair, uncomfortable and unsatisified
but by choice.

Her eyes were liquid, soft and accepting
her voice quiet and studied
the invasive questions I must ask were
answered with more patience than they deserved.
Her loneliness in midst of company evident in her
Weakness and her consuming hunger.
Her numbness from pain causing her stillness.
Her acceptance of her condition from long experience.

His pain more manifest,
A caterer by trade, yet he could not fulfill his calling
By responding to her hunger, for the need was too deep
And the aftermath too violent.
His answers were eager, quick.
His movements birdlike and rapid,
His hat suffering indignations in his hands,
Twisted and abused. They were opposites,
They were brother and sister.

Where do I answer this call?
How do I fulfill the need?
I can give a box of food -- I can offer a moment of kindness
Respite, solidarity.
I contemplate the ancient questions that have no answer --
Why do God’s children suffer? Why do I have so much and
They so little? Oh God, where do I go from here?

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