Monday, January 3, 2011


Looked up from the pan of fish
I'd been up frying until nearly 3am
to ask if she wanted one piece or two.
But before I could smile, she said
"I can't stand bitches like you,
thinking we need for you to save us."

I looked down at her two sons,
about the age of my own daughters
and back up to eyes filled with disgust,
trying to diffuse the situation
and asked if she'd prefer to get it herself.
Turned the tongs backwards & reached out,
and she slapped them out of my hand.

"See, that's exactly the shit I mean. You can't
explain yourself so you just pass it back off
to me." So often we are steeped in our
own histories and too consumed by animosity
to eat what's given to us by those
who can't see beyond what they're offering.

I thought to tell her I'd been on the receiving side
of a similar shelter food line, but there are times
when trying to identify serves only to further
divide the lines between yourself and those
who are in need

So rather than turn it back to

a story about me and what I'd been through,
I simply picked back up the tongs and said
"I'm just here to serve you, so ma'am
what will it be, one piece or two?"

She bitingly asked "why can't I have three or four?
Your fat ass planning on taking some of this home
with you?" And I thought to tell her how I'd saved up
money for weeks, went without life's pleasantries,
took food from my own freezer and
cabinets to ensure a shelter with no funds
had enough to feed everyone in the line.

But the point of servitude is not
in attempting to garner the gratitude
of the people in your line,
rather it's to give selfishly and many times
there will come no time for hugs and thanks
no photo opportunities, no warm feeling
from the community that you feel led to help.

So, again, I said "one piece or two,"
as I placed four pieces upon her plate,
whispered to her "now this is just
between me and you" and winked.

She smirked at me and took her time
to move down the line,
before she took her tray
and sat down in the corner
with her two young kings
following closely behind her.

I looked from pan up to
the next woman in line
and asked "one piece or two"
and the line moved on and on.

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