That Awkward Feeling

— Andy Wade —

they make me uncomfortable
I pass by, pretending not to notice
for every one I see, at least ten more remain hidden,
too ashamed or afraid to come out of the shadows
awkwardness pursues me
knowing there must be something
I can do. But then…

drug addict
alcoholic
mentally ill
bum

caricatures we perpetuate
to keep them at arms length,
to justify our akwardness while passing by

a lost job
medical bills
insufficient income
fleeing domestic violence

alone

children
veterans
families
forgotten

only a small sampling
of their trials
listening to their stories
stereotypes shatter

simple acts of kindness,
of humanity
can pierce the wall that divides us:
a pair of warm socks
a sandwich and hot coffee
a hat, or jacket, or gloves
a smile that lets them know you see them
and they matter

then our dis-ease will fade
not because we gave charity
but because we care
we listen
we love
we acknowledge
our common existence

we are changed

AFWade 11.13.2014