Refuge, by Diana Engel

Diana Engel
REFUGE

In this fearful place,
we clutch our lives
and draw inward,
seeking the consolation of home fires,
selfishly guarding our blessings,
spoon-feeding them hot soup
and crusts of bread.

But in the pits of our stomachs
and the chambers of our souls
we are famished,
lost like Hansel and his sister,
searching the skies
and the thick, dark forest
for the hidden path.

Nightmares of closed doors
and empty purses haunt us,
hobgoblins that steal our peace,
break down resolve to reach out
across backyard fences,
place our gifts in neighbors’ hands,
those who wake fatigued
with nothing
but their own hearts to eat.

Let us be the voices in this wilderness,
cry “Make the way straight,”
dare to feed and clothe strangers,
embrace those surviving in hostile winter outposts
of this hard and hoarding society,
demand jobs for our teachers
and homes for our families
struggling from dawn to dusk
to reclaim their lives,
their grit and pluck
shouting their promise.

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