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  LIFELONG LEARNERS

A Handkerchief and a Widow



I. Grief

“Why are you crying?”
My eyes are very sad.
“Why?”
The little boy I loved
Is dead.
“What did he die of?”
He died of selfishness,
Ingratitude.
He died overcome
With his insecurities.
He died crushed by
Sleep-deprivation,
Over-fatigue.
He died trying
To be the best
For his cruel master
Who had killed his identity
And humanity.
He died of stress,
Anxiety,
Anger,
Rudeness,
Unloving ways.
The twinkle in his eyes
Is gone.
He looks fierce, furious.
The gentleness in his face
Is gone.
He looks angry, fearsome.
The smile in his lips
Is gone.
He looks sore, sullen.
The joy in his laughter
Is gone.
It sounds forced, hollow.
“So he’s alive?”
The little boy I loved
Is dead.

II. Hope

“Thanks for washing me.”
__________________…
__________________…
“Your eyes are dry.”
__________________…
__________________…
“You’re lost in thought.”
The crucifix was gone
From the spot where it hung.
I looked for it
All over the place.
I looked in boxes,
Underneath tables,
Chairs, beds, sinks,
In corners, dark rooms,
On top of shelves, closets,
Cabinets…
A guest had come,
Uninvited, unwanted.
He was hungry and tired,
Cold, broke, and
Broken-hearted.
The rich landlord
Let him in grudgingly.
He was a neighbor
Of the landlord’s
Cook and carpenter.
Left-over meals
Filled his hunger.
Borrowed blanket,
Pillow and pajamas,
Old mat, old socks
Kept him warm.
He trimmed dry leaves,
Mended broken fence,
Helped the cook and carpenter,
Disposed of garbage,
Fed the dogs and cats,
And oh, he drove
The old car
To the wet market.
But he was unwanted.
He said bye, thank you,
Asked for pocket money.
The landlord growled
He was just a guest
Of his cook and carpenter.
Why should the landlord
Pay him?
A small sum was given
With a bitter helping
Of selfish ill will.
When the guest left,
I saw the crucifix
Hanging on a post
Above an angel!
“The Son had visited.”
Found a room
In the carpenter’s heart,
Found a laden table
In the cook’s humble soul.
The little boy is dead,
But love is alive!



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