By poet Marcela Sulak, from her book Decency (Black Lawrence Press).
Dear Ahasuerus, it is eleven-thirty am and my number is one hundred and eighty-six. I feel the lack of communion striving for a higher purpose in this government assistance office, and it is beyond sadness and feet and the distance of aircraft and tires and inner-tubes on turgid rivers in midsummer with aluminum cans of beer. It’s not just the ones who pick discarded numbers from the floor and say they missed their turn. The flower-selling prepubescent children sniffing glue in paper bags outside the margins of the magazine I’m reading remind me of the laundry I hung up that must be dry by now, filled as they are with warmth and wings and snapping.
This office is a fine line. The wind from the open window rustles the pages of my magazine, pumps the lungs of paper bags, lifts the plastic shopping sacks discarded in the fields, fills the vacant sheets.
When God withdraws, we all must breathe a little harder.