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Sunday, October 27, 2013


by Zara Raab

Image source: The Monthly

the old homeless men say nothing
these winter nights in the city.
For months they go without speaking,
instead endlessly wandering
as if the stream of love
had stopped,
leaving only boundless pity.

Arms outspread, “Friend!” we croon to them,
when a word said simply would do
so much more to dispel a gloom.
They can’t turn off too soon
from so grand a gesture,
well meant to reassure––
hot food and warm beds––a future.

Are you ever trapped in logic
as I am—caught as if in amber––
willing to act, but no matter
where you aim, missing your target,
unable to stop
or become someone else,
your need for change urgent?

A kind word said simply would do
so much more to dispel a gloom,
an hour in our human houses
feeling out each of many rooms,
their echoes and uses.
We cannot start too soon.
The shelter we seek is human.

Zara Raab
’s latest books are Fracas & Asylum and Rumpelstiltskin, finalist for the Dana Award. Earlier books, Swimming the Eel and The Book of Gretel, evoke the rainy darkness of the remote North Coast. Her poems, reviews, and essays appear in Poetry Flash, Evansville Review, River Styx, Crab Orchard Review, The Dark Horse, and Poet Lore. She is a contributing editor to the Redwood Coast Review and Poetry Flash.