Let us erase everything, one by one, except for us.
Yesterday I visited a homeless shelter, one that I had visited about 6 or 7 years ago. The last time I was there, I didn’t talk to anyone. I did my task as a volunteer and left. This time, however, I made it my goal to hear these people. I wanted to know their stories and their names and understand more about the city I was born in but never loved.
Many of them thanked me for my services, but their gratitude made me uneasy. I knew for a fact that after their meal they would return to a room that was not their own, sleep in a bed that did not smell like home, and I was able to only catch a 2 hour snapshot of their lives. I know they thanked me not out of obligation, and that tore me the most. I had the privilege of leaving the shelter while they had to continue on with another night of uncertainty. They shouldn’t have thanked me because I get to put a pause on reality, yet they don’t.
I spoke to one man named Harris who was spending his first night there. I learned where he was and what brought him there, and as he told me about his story he mentioned that he has a sister close to my age, and that she in fact is attending my university. I didn’t really know what to say after that to him, considering the stark contrast between him and his sister’s lives.
I can’t say that this experience “transformed me” or “made me a better person,” because I believe it takes a culmination of attitudes and people to transform a soul. But I am still so grateful for the hearts of these people. I hope that my path will cross with Harris’s some day. It bothers me that hope is the only thing I can do at the moment.
Every time I try to write recently, I find myself relaying songs in my mind. Smooth base lines and falsettos make it easier to think about you.
whose arms would I run and fall into
if I were drunk
in a room with everyone
I have ever loved"
for you to say
my name next
to verbs that
are past tense."
I keep turning to the folds of this page, hoping something would manifest in my heart that would be beautiful enough to turn into words.