My Three Minute Poem

They were all abused, sexually, verbally, neglected in the trailer, in the big house on the hill

Kiss me mommy … no, like you did before

We need to establish the boundaries here in the breaking light, watching the yellow dawn run like puss draining from a wound along the edges of the room

The psychiatrist didn’t want to talk in the parking lot, his wife was home with dinner, the exact diagnosis would have to wait, it was too difficult to talk about on the asphalt, over the oil spills and the falling snow flakes

So I left without any good answers and stopped to pick up some vegetables

I got fresh corn, lettuce, cauliflower, cucumbers, a tomato or two

The girl behind the counter was from El Salvador, my old stomping ground, and I gave her two twenties to pay a bill of $23

When I got back to the car, I saw that she had given me a five and three ones for change, nine bucks short

I thought about it for a while and then I remembered how hard it was for refugees from El Salvador to make it to the states, most of them had to endure rape and murder, kidnapping and torture, all the dangers of the travel, crossing, border

Everyone in El Salvador was poor or very poor, and most had been abused, sexually, verbally, neglected in tiny rooms, thrown down cliffs into the sea, tortured into the night, buried in shallow graves, and so I sat there and visualized what the girl would do with my nine bucks

Maybe it was an honest mistake or maybe not, it didn’t matter and she would give the extra to her mother or stash it away for her kid

I started the car and drove away, as the snow picked up, thinking about the psychiatrist eating with his wife at home, in his nice home overlooking the sound … trading off, all of us were trading off


4 thoughts on “My Three Minute Poem

  1. Very powerful. I read it five or six times and experienced a range of emotions, some not flattering to myself. I confess that I don’t always give the problems of other people as much thought as I give mine, that I should keep in my mind that there is real suffering. But I also don’t want to use others’ suffering as a means of comparison, like when you say “well at least my life isn’t that bad,” or say that a person with a disability is “so inspiring.” I think it is recognition and compassion we ought to strive for, not comparison. I can’t flay myself to even the score and not feel guilty about my comfortable life. To recognize each person in front of us, as an individual, a child of God, and ask ourselves, what can we do for them? What do they need from me right this moment? Sorry for the essay. It just got me thinking.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The line, “Kiss me mommy. No, like you did before,” really struck a chord with me. It encapsulates the whole poem for me. Perhaps it brings back repressed memories. If nothing else, it takes me to the sad and hat I assume to be depraved state of some of my neighbors. It crushes me.

    Thanks for that reawakened awareness.

    Liked by 2 people

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