The Clerestory Podcast S1 E25

The Oklahoma Tenant Farmer and Me
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Just Soup

She, holding ladle,
No, needing to help.
To assuage guilt

At the sin of
Having more than enough,
While others,
Less than enough.

Once a month
For one day,
or even less,
Guilt is at bay.

He, wanting,
No, needing to eat.
His hunger crying, as
Soup slips

From ladle to bowl.
As close as they, he and she,
Will be.
Their eyes don’t see

More than
Just soup.
She to make,
He to eat.

His story pent behind eyes
Red and swollen from
Too little. And too much
Sleep on dirty streets.

Eyes that sparkle
Tell her story.
She changes sheets still clean,
On beds thick with warmth.

He moves slowly
Down the line toward
Tables with the crazy one,
The lazy one, the sick one.

She wipes the counter,
Not looking toward
Tables where a flurry of
Food makes its way home.

One by one, back to their bottles
Or needles, or corners. And hears
Someone muttering an after-meal grace.

She looks up. He’s gone.
Just soup 
Day is done.
Today, soup and grace.

Jane Bailey writes about life’s graces from her home in Litchfield, CT. She is a lifestyle columnist for two Litchfield publications and has been published in Today’s American Catholic, The Hartford Courant, and Woods Reader among others. Her poem, Dance of the Trees, won the Woods Reader 2019 Poetry Challenge. See more of her work on her website.

Discover more from Jane Bailey .