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Poetry

Taped to a red
“College/Career Info”
catalog box

near this block’s
crowded sidewalk bistro,
one business envelope.

Please pray
for my husband Cliff
for his health. He is very, very ill.

God loves you,
Dedra. Maybe hung just
that day, ten minutes since.

Looks more like a week,
open but not torn,
faded script & weather warps.

Any money inside?
A single dollar there
not taken, or

left in the first place
to fight a cryptic sickness
for a stranger’s sake?

Even change would help,
I guess. I try to make myself
think so, feeling otherwise.

Yet prayer requests
don’t burst or surface
unless engendering pressures rise.

What saint didn’t realize this?
Overriding fissure
holds no force enough

for prayer purely, praise alone.
Petition then, as when a desperate woman
appends a space for coins

and bills to swell her plea
with evidence, merest
sustenance of passersby.

Walking on comes simply
in the face of such an offering,
such speculative currency.

I barely stopped, curious only,
if the truth be known,
and will never know

if anonymous alms
were given, or if in time
they would be.

I didn’t leave a dime.
What I venture, waiting
at a four-way, may displace

full disregard, or hardly.
Test the spirits: hastily entreat
the Lord, with effortless devotion.

Her crisis meets the half heart
of soulful caring, my fleeting
street-corner prayer.


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