I hear a woman's chatter, deep and low.
Storms have uprooted cities
While she and her cats grimaced
With pearl and onyx.
Bangles on her wrist chatter as she rises
Whispering secrets of survival
And communion to her friend,
While I exist as a gnat on fruit
Sucking life from their conversation.
Still my joints ache from battles less sacred.
Still the clouds and their gray dresses
Appear as indicators of my distress.
And the women warriors to my left,
Having been drawn together by the same demon,
Speak of tenacity and expectation
As the path of salvation.
More so it seems that in the sharing of their pain
They have seen it's end;
Not to say that pain is over,
More so that it's purpose is made clear.

I wrote this poem as a pleasant distraction while studying the lectionary at a coffee shop. One of the women who inspired it noticed my copy of Feasting On The Word, and asked about it. Her name is Karen. Turns out she is living on Social Security and taking a course on Medical transcription or something like that. She gave me a big hug and asked me to pray for her. I did not show her the poem. I was too embarrassed to be caught spying. Besides, I needed to relieve the church member who was watching my kids for the afternoon. So, pray for Karen, for her friend, and for all who would be in dire straights without a social network of financial assistance. Not all recipients are like her, and some could not function even if they wanted to. Our system is imperfect and broken, but Karen is glad to be held from destitution while she works toward something better. And I am too.

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