It's hard to concentrate on austerity
when I'm smelling fresh baked bread
as I'm typing on my top-of-the-line PC.
I'm chatting with my friend in Ghana
trying to downplay my first-world affluence
sophisticated world traveler that I am.
He's never been to the next country over
though he's got a yearning from the learning
done at the local Internet cafe.
A friend subscribes to simplicity
release from abundance
atonement for plenty.
Tis the season for retail therapy
perusing the shelves and racks
for a new skin, a new attitude.
Dining at the new rib joint
there's a waiting line to eat
Solidarity with refugee campers.
You've got to be kidding, you say
I say the sky fell when you weren't looking
My sister weeps, wrenching her heart inside out.
My friend staggers beneath a plenitude of grief:
Brother-in-law, brother, daughter-in-law.
Dying. Almost dying. Enough. Enough already.
How dare I connect the words
living and dying in one breath
Superstition that saying it makes it so.
Prayers seem somehow inadequate
What is solace? Compassion is
a hot meal delivered to the door.
I'm trying on the grieving. I'm next in line.
I don't know how to give comfort.
Nor to take it.
I'm auditioning for statue
marble avatar of contemporary woman
who stares but does not see.
Your withheld tears wash over me
salty rain upon a monument
invading my cracks and crevices.