Without the social strata, you told me to just listen
to what people said and then match it against their actions.
You found similarities in daily worries, their self-denials,
their aspirations. Their love lives, especially.
You insisted we’re all alike, once we got past
the job descriptions or ethnic and religious distinctions.
That’s what you said in this hamlet, but I saw otherwise.
One woman left every light on since childhood.
Another was adept at covering up shame.
With one newly met couple at the bistro bar,
his hands roamed all over her with wealth and ease
while telling her he’d be away, working, all the next
Saturday, so they must move with all speed
all the while her smile grew ever more welcoming
in the available glow.
Our wounds and reactions make us different.
Our clothing and bandages. Our secrets, especially.
Just look, discreetly. With or without the field guide.
Or the rooster in my dreams that disturbs me.
Poem copyright 2017 by Jnana Hodson.
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