Thursday, June 11, 2015

Hard, important work

The Social Workers

 We know where the homeless shelters are,
where flattened men sit, warmed by liquor
and the collective conscience
   of addition and handicap.  

We’ve seen them 

leaning against confetti-ed walls,

like flies on the carcass

of wasted years – a fading future.

We go to houses painted the shade 

of a nightmare;

coats of fear and abuse building up, 

concealing the shame and ignorance

of a life devoid of harmony

and strength in the daylight of love.

We sit in the foster homes

and place the injured offspring

into stations near the end 

of an awfully short road,

with any luck - free of maltreatment,

but still choking with the exhaust 

of separation and loss.

We glare past the packaging,

into the plastic hands of incubators

holding the two-pound result

of ambivalent conception and crack cravings.

We leave the county hospital startled

by the miniature creatures 

and the tubes keeping their faint rhythms alive.

We ring the AIDS center - beg them for an opening,

drop her off at the battered women’s shelter,

and latter query the housing authority,

then sigh when we’re reminded of the waiting list.

Sometimes our hearts aren’t in it

and often we’d die for another profession.

But if God returns while we’re still here

and we find ourselves in need of His attending to,

at least we’ll know where to find Him -

beside us - the social workers,

down and dirty with the least of us...

by Joshua Pulis, LCSW

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