A neighbor thanked me for a simple kindness,
restaurant takeout my diet wouldn't allow.

So off I went, the food still hot and fresh,
to find a someone who needed it more than I.

He was young, wary, browned, and thin,
as one might expect from homeless youth.

He greeted me with a distant smile - 
measuring me, and what game I played.

I told him my tale as best I could, and
mentioned where the meal had been made.

He studied me with understanding eyes and
politely corrected my pronunciation,

as he might his grandfather stumbling over
a slangy rap song title.

He took my offering and traded his thanks.
A grin played his lips, a joggled memory perhaps.

Taken aback, I managed, "Yes, that's the place,"
and went on my way, never too old to learn. 


Had i but

known by heart,

lo those

many years ago,

Romeo's scathing words

aimed at the anguished


"I give you poison,
You give me none."


God be my witness,

i would have taken


as my second language,

and been a better man

for it.

Under Repair

Under Repair
She had dreams just
as big as yours - 

of college -
fine clothes -
a useful career -

grabbed her heart
that junior year.

A boy told her

he Loved her

and she was
enough (then)
to believe his
thinly sliced

Promises and
Kisses and

The upshot,

(surprise, surprise)

a baby girl
came along,
perfect in every way.

The boy, drifted away,
a small boat, unmoored.

So there was no 
high school graduation

strut across the stage,
or cartwheels 
with diploma in hand, 
or proud parents beaming.

Home alone that 
celebratory evening,
her daughter fussy
and running a fever,
bottle bubbling
on the stove,
and later, when the baby
finally fell asleep,

She, our dropout,
stood before the mirror
imagining a glorious
satin cap and gown,

tassel flipped to one side,

she saw herself, 
standing beside a dusty road
dressed in sloppy jeans,
hard hat,
and fluorescent vest
holding a



at fifteen bucks an hour

that she wished she had


way back when. 
Photo by Taryn Elliott on