For The Grace Of The Homeless Lady On Her Birthday

by Jennifer Diskin

In an Oak Park suburb,
a homeless lady takes our picture
in front of the Unity Temple.
She looks for the subway,
and we take a half hour journey
through these streets
because she told us
it was her birthday.

She’s looking for company
and when it comes to loneliness
what choice do we have
but to panhandle
our way for a kiss or a friend?

Although she was hungry,
she wouldn’t eat raw meatballs
a guy from a restaurant offered.
We admire her resolve,
not to settle on food
just because
the stomach and heart
rumble and quake.

You console her
because you walk
faster than me
in a conversation between sidewalks
and worn out shoes
where her soles comfort more
than mine.

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