off the street

the other day
a curly red haired woman comes off the street
she steps into the church’s lobby
a pleasant place for members to greet
she is  looking for a bite to eat
      and a full tank of gas
      to prevent endless walking on her feet
a smile and a kind word I give
she sheds tears, worried about how she will live
     without food,
     without gas
     without rent
to pay the rehab house that welcomed her
     when she arrived bent
a list of local agencies and $40 worth of grocery cards
    is all I have to share
she nods her head, thankful for a short break from despair
and then the the curly red haired woman
   with watery eyes
   says goodbye
she rises from her comfy seat, 
    leaves the lobby, cozy with heat
     walks to the parking lot, tired and beat
motionless inside the car
 she waits as her husband dials numbers
       to places not too far
she listens to voices on the cell
   hoping for more loving assistance
   to keep them from the edge of a living hell
only time and God can tell what they will meet
      once they return
      on the street            

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