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  • Writer's pictureCatherine Smart


Updated: Aug 12, 2021

The world is on fire.

Mostly figuratively, but also…actual fire.

We talk to each other hatefully, hurtfully.

People suffer –

far and near, known and strange

connected by the unfairness,

by the loss.

Pain that I see and can’t change. Pain that I see and don’t change.

Potential calamities, everywhere a catastrophe:

If you don’t wear your seatbelt,

If you don’t read to the kids before bed,

If you don’t look both ways…

And then sometimes even if you do.

Fear–no, worry–mocks me, waking and sleeping.

It lurks in corners inside my heart.

It slithered here an age ago and stayed so long it wore a path.

There are deep ruts now, reinforced by weary trips to an empty storehouse.

We know each other well, we’ve stared so long at the same bare table.

But sometimes.

Sometimes, almost by accident, or maybe some machination of the universe, or some ferocious urge inside me,

The sun shines and the crops grow tall. Fat tomatoes bend the vines. Butter spreads thickly on slabs of warm bread.

There is food.

Then, almost despite myself, I feel a great need.

To gulp it down. To gaspingly, noisily, inhale a giant mouthful.

To devour crumbs and chunks of joy.

Each one of those times,

Each and every one,

Is a meeting. A conversation. A hug. A laugh.

A relationship. A person who interrupts her day

To connect. To strengthen. To nourish.

Each time, I try to hug back. I try to laugh with. I eat it up with the big spoon, the one you save for the cereal with the good marshmallows.

I consume it all, greedily.

It gives me strength.

Some to keep.

And some to pass on.

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