Color withers against the faces of blooms
as they hold the weight of grief,
heads bowed like mourners
in the cold of graveyard shadows.
And we fold the kind pieces of ourselves
into sympathy notes passed to the bereft
as the dead are fit into coffins
too small for rest.
Would you let her sit next to you,
the remnants of roadsides tangled in her hair,
rest her second-hand tatters
if only for a few miles?
And would you spread a balm of kind words
over the cracks fissured around her eyes
where beauty has splintered away,
and the pressure of years compressed over youth
fatigues her smile,
a smile she offers anyway.
She knows that poverty is
a heart that beats time to itself
because no one else is listening.
Pushcart Prize and Kentucky Poet Laureate nominee, Sheri L. Wright is the author of six books of poetry, including the most recent, The Feast of Erasure.