what’s the word


    I’m looking for?
    (Not that anyone has asked
    for a word, you understand)

    Still – the swirl around
    the swine flu has left me
    looking for a word or two
    with which to respond . . .

    I could say something
    about malaria, or cholera,
    or tuberculosis, or hunger –
    all bigger killers we could do
    something about, but

    that too quickly begins to
    sound (and feel) superior.

    I could repeat what I read
    on the church sign driving
    to work: “God is in control.”

    And then I drove past a car
    that had fallen into the ditch.

    Most every time an angel
    appears in a Bible story,
    he says the same thing:
    “Be not afraid,” as if that
    would be enough.

    Tone, you know, travels
    across time and scripture
    about as well as it does
    in email; still — I can’t help
    but hear something other
    than a command.

    And I wonder . . .

    how I might give my
    word wings of compassion
    and the lightness of love
    whatever it might be.



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