Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Hole and Heart



Black skinned Margaret, calls me Susie
as if I am family, takes me to her field. Rake and hoe,
she’s pried open the earth with hands and sweat,
taken the magic of seeds and  planted half an acre.
I step through her verdant garden,
mud weighing down my shoes, while Margaret
whispers secrets about a stick, dry wood
slid in next to the seedling, poked deep  into red dirt,
how a hole like that gathers water, a direct line
to the heart of the cabbage.
 
I laugh because I call myself Wooden Woman,
reaching out’s stiff and awkward,  I glance over clean
white socks, mud gripped, filth seeping
 into my bright orange shoes.  And still
she grabs my elbow, ushers me into her home.
I smell her humanness as she shows me her skills,
school uniforms she sews—a business
treadled between sun and clay
of the garden. I wash my hands every day

how many times with sanitizer, combating
dirt and bacteria, parasites and illness, yes, I am
immunized, passport and ticket home around my waist.
Margaret is not afraid. She squeezes my hand,
roasts ground nuts and serves porridge, she
looks straight into my eyes, despite the drought.

Margaret searches warm soda bottles and fishes out
a Fanta to match my shoes. For Susie, she calls again
the childhood name reserved  for my closest relatives—
as if all my knowledge and money were not pauper’s gifts;
as if the hole in her HIV positive life,
were completely filled to brimming
with my whispered thank you.



*

8 comments:

Brian Miller said...

goodness...this is a beautiful piece...i love her familiarity and life in spite of her circumstances...really this is a truly moving piece..

S. Etole said...

So good to have your here again ... and, yes, this is remarkably moving.

Kathy said...

Margaret. Our hero and friend. Oh how lovely to feel her Kenyan greeting of an embrace, and a soft kiss on each cheek. A blessing from heaven. Thank you for sharing her story. My dearest Susan...you and your heart of gold.

Brandee Shafer said...

Wow. This is amazing. God bless you for reaching out to her, and God bless her for reaching back. I'm so thankful for the relationships Jesus grows and weaves.

emily wierenga said...

I smell her humanness as she shows me her skills,


oh susan. i've missed you. i am with brian; so very moved by this piece. i feel like i know margaret... bless you, and her...

Brian Miller said...

smiles. thank you ma'am

Craig and Bethany said...

I'm captivated by her joy and courage, not the American kind that watches to see if the audiences notices. She's radiant, and her eyes aren't on herself. How completely different. How strange, that HIV positive woman is the way I want to be.

myrtle said...

Wow! that was really brilliant. love it.=D
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