Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Least of These


Joseph sniffs glue to get to sleep,
unknowing of the cost his melting lungs
pay just to dream.
As he and thousands like him
lie supine beneath the Rwandan sky,
waiting for the distant stars
to twinkle their concern,
he doesn’t wonder
what other eyes are likewise drinking deep the night,
what hope remains in such a world
or any such philosophical staples and clich├ęs.
He wonders
if he’ll eat tomorrow,
if among the dump trucks’ rotten cargo
he might find something salvageable.
The canines in his belly grow quiet,
muzzled by the fumes of his olfactory lullaby.

Meanwhile,
on the other side
of the same lonely planet,
millions adopt Calvary’s cross and
millions claim Christ but continue to gloss
over just who it was their savior came for,
forgetting the ignored that flocked outside of each door
He patroned.
Those blessed enough to know the
comforts of the west
must not assume the stead
of that Christ-denounced Sanhedrin,
so comfortable with the premise
of a Christ-promised Heaven
that they feel no need to try
to still spread the divine,
to love with a passion and
live with convictions quintessentially
defined in the Christ’s laid-down life.
To millions Golgotha’s yield is only as desirable
as it is comfortable,
and when I wave the world away
with the neglectful faith of a craven bystander,
shrugging off the suffering that strangles my
struggling neighbors –
in Rwanda and Japan,
Haiti and Sri Lanka,
on the shunned but populated metropolitan streets
of Portland, and the ravaged waste
that makes the Ninth Ward –
when I claim the name of Christ
but don’t serve the least of these,
the decay that dresses my faith
is more lulling than any adhesive.

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