Between the Lines

Patti RussoM.S., CPT Certified Poetry Therapist
pattirusso317@gmail.com                                                             (978) 314-8659                                                              Cambridge, MA 02139                                       
Poem for January 2020

"Poetry, like bread, is for everyone."
          -- Roque Dalton
Small Kindnesses
by Danusha Laméris

I’ve been thinking about the way, when you walk
down a crowded aisle, people pull in their legs
to let you by. Or how strangers still say “bless you”
when someone sneezes, a leftover
from the Bubonic plague. “Don’t die,” we are saying.
And sometimes, when you spill lemons
from your grocery bag, someone else will help you
pick them up. Mostly, we don’t want to harm each other.
We want to be handed our cup of coffee hot,
and to say thank you to the person handing it. To smile
at them and for them to smile back. For the waitress
to call us honey when she sets down the bowl of clam chowder,
and for the driver in the red pick-up truck to let us pass.
We have so little of each other, now. So far
from tribe and fire. Only these brief moments of exchange.
What if they are the true dwelling of the holy, these
fleeting temples we make together when we say, “Here,
have my seat,” “Go ahead—you first,” “I like your hat.”

from HEALING THE DIVIDE: POEMS OF KINDNESS AND CONNECTION, 2019

Writing prompt: Think about a recent time when you were on the receiving end of a small kindness? How did it feel? Write about it. 

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