https://rainn.org/

 

……

 

22 March 2012

i’m sitting on the sidewalk
as a woman sobs on my shoulder.
i put my arm around her
and say, “it’s okay.”
knowing that nothing is okay,
it will never be okay.

i’m way out of my depth.
i don’t know what to do
or to say.
anything that comes to mind
is shallow and meaningless.
this woman’s experiences
are completely foreign to me.

all I can do is let her cry,
tell her that she has forgiveness,
that what saddens her,
what keeps her awake
or gives her nightmares
is all in the past.
it’s time for her to forgive herself
and love herself
and live
in the present moment.

she can’t go on.
she can’t stand the pain.
she can’t do this any more.
drink is the only thing
that numbs her mind
enough to endure,
enough to pass out at night
and do it all over again
the next day.

i can only do
and say so much.
it’s always a pleasant surprise
to see her sitting on the sidewalk
knowing that she’s made it
through another night;
that she hasn’t been taken
by violence, sickness
or the police.

i do what i can.

Gotta Find a Home: Conversations with Street People
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