someone’s gotta do it

the least
i am a bottomless pit into which
unwanted unloved lost fall
stray cats
lost children
homeless dogs
dying plants.
i am the dock
so brashly jumped off
then clung to
in icy wet panic.
i am the fixer
broken toys
lost buttons
ripped seams
ruined knees
glue and thread
needle and tape
hammer, nails.
i hold sticky hands
and eyes brimming with fear.
i keep bandaids
and ointment
and kisses.
i bring buckets and brushes
towels rags soap medicated shampoo.
i give water and food
and shelter.
i make fertile soil
and personalized pillows.
i bring cupcakes
and mop vomit.
thank you god
for trusting me
with your least.
they are heavy
and i am grateful
to grow strong.

I get a lot of those jobs Someone’s Got To Do.  I even volunteer for them, sometimes.  This is a piece from last spring, I was just beginning to write regularly after years of just barely getting by.  I finally found myself with the time and resources on my hands to get back to another job of mine, writing the poems Someone’s Got To Write.  Neither of these jobs gets much in the way of respect or support.  There’s nothing in it for me.  Sometimes I get a mumbled thank you or an internet Like, maybe a comment on a post or someone telling me how I could do better.  Encouragement is rare in my world, there are a few people I can count on to build me up.  Even my proudest moments usually go unacknowledged.

Two people who could be counted on to encourage and help passed away this week.  One,  the grandmother of one of my childhood friends.  They lived around the corner from me.  I had a fractured childhood, always moving, always losing friends.  Sometimes I would get to come back.  Usually I had to make new friends when I did.  But she was still my friend.  And her grandma was still there with a plate of cookies and a tolerant smile for kids being kids.  The other, my friend’s husband.  He and I weren’t really friends but he came over with a front end loader and fixed my yard and taught me to prune fruit trees.  And when he gave a compliment it meant something, his respect for my work and my dedication to my family and friends was a boost when I was down.  The world is short two very different but very kind people.  They both lived lives of service, they neither expected nor received much in the way of getting.  They gave.  They took care of their families, their communities, all of God’s littlest creatures.

My proudest moments are the times I know I did the right thing, the times I have built someone up, helped someone out.  Usually they are uncomfortable, tiring, messy.  They are doing that work that needs doing, being Someone when Someone’s Gotta Do It.  Sharing gritty poetry about pregnant 20 year olds.  Listening to a widow, tired from years at a hospital bedside and needing an ear without judgement more than a casserole.  Opening the door to a little boy who’s mom’s at work and sister forgot to be home after school, giving him a snack and a safe yard to play in.  Taking my baby to visit an AIDS patient in a nursing home, lugging that baby and his heavy bag past hundreds of forgotten faces, watching them smile to see him smile.  It’s not fun.  It’s not easy.  No one cares.  There was no applause.  But I know I did well.  And I am thankful to be useful in my own small way, thankful to have known people who showed me how to just roll up my sleeves and get work, thankful to have had them in my life.

About m

My ego wants to think I'm a writer but my heart knows I'm just another one of God's Kids who sometimes has words to say. 2 human kids and 3 feline kids call me Mom. Or Mooooooom. Or mewom, depending which you ask. I'm kinda-sorta busy being a student again; this time I signed myself up for a bizarre torture known as Graduate School. Theoretically in 4ish years I'll have earned some more nice letters to put with my name. Let's face it, I'm addicted to learning and probably need rehab to restore me to sanity and remove the obsession to read books. I don't remember what free time is but I think I like to spend it sleeping or playing in the mud on a river bank.
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