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Blue Sky

The Moment It Happened: A Poem For Keeping SRS Open In Lawrence: Everyday Magic, Day 368

Updated: Oct 3, 2023

Later she would say it was a miracle.

Afterward he would tell friends it happened just in time.

Someone answered the phone. Someone took her seriously.

Someone made sure he got help immediately.

Someone called her back from the ledge or found him

a place to stay, a hot meal, a ride to the hospital

the moment the world fell apart.

Do you think these things happen by accident?

Do you think they can be exported or computerized,

swept out of town, or sorted by zip code into oblivion?

Someone needs to be in the office the morning he comes in,

fresh out of jail with only a pebble of hope in his pocket.

Someone needs to call the authorities and

someone needs to be the authority called

for the the 6-year-old boy found scared in the field,

the 96-year-old woman with no one left to help her fill out the forms,

the new bride who drove herself to the hospital with a fractured arm

and marriage, and the man who was too afraid to ask for help.

This is not the story of welfare generations,

lazing on apartment terraces while the rest of us pay taxes.

This is not the story of freeloaders buying steak with foodstamps.

This is not even the story of whether there are mistakes or delays.

This is about the young man finally able to hire his own caregivers,

the child afraid to leave her alcholic mom, the couple trapped

in overbearing pain and poverty, the man terrified to tell

what happened to him. This is the story of a woman

wheeling herself over the threshold to remind us

that in this country, this Kansas we don’t sacrifice children.

We don’t sacrifice each other. We reach into our pockets,

we figure out ways to make something out of nothing,

we open our arms, we cradle the hurt, and we rock to sleep the weary,

recognizing in their eyes the moment our own world fell apart,

and how someone was able to make all the difference

by the simple miracle of being there.

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