D. I. Ríos (October 30, 2022. Connecticut)
On the porch outside,
For the door to open.
Youngish, white, mask-wearing.
Muddy sandals on a cold day,
Worn feet and mottled, pink, ankles.
I try not to stare.
I’m there to care, dropping off groceries.
The sore on her forehead announced who she was.
It made me see smudges from Jesus
Of saliva and dirt mixed to heal.
Ashes on our foreheads,
Crosses to remind,
That we belong to God.
She had a sore, a large scratch? Evidence of a fall?
It was all she could do to stand by the door that
Opened for food,
To get through the day,
To feed her child.
“I found out s/he likes string cheese” she says
When the door opened and a long arm
Extended out with fresh, white, tendrils of milk.
Her addictions would take her down
Into a well.
She could drown forever inside a leper colony.
Kind words, fresh cheese,
A smile from others,
Makes her part of humanity
If only for today.