Wendy Aros-Routman

“I have this complaint to make;
you have less love now than you used to.”
(Revelation: 2: 4-5, The Jerusalem Bible)

“What is hell?”
I maintain that it is the suffering
of being unable to love.”
(Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov)

“My children,
our love is not be just words or mere talk,
but something real and active;
only by this can we be certain
that we are children of the truth.”
(1 John 3: 18-19, The Jerusalem Bible)

Benjamin Disinger

“Hello City Light,” my friend shouts,
Black, Vietnam vet, towering over
all of us, the Displaced, suffered in line
for a hot meal handed out at the door
of City Light Community Ministries,
my friend, strong tower over all
we Others, preparing the meals,
handing out the meals, asking,

“You want water or Mountain Dew?
Help yourself to the Food Bank surplus
aligned on the sidewalk: potatoes and onions,
broccoli and cauliflower, lettuce
and cabbage, apples, oranges, pears,
lemons and limes, and would you like
some grapes and spicy olives, and yes,
help yourself to a breakfast pastry
and, as long as they last, a gallon of milk.”

Earl Wilcox

For my friend, it is always harvest,
a gathering of goodness to share
with neighbors shut in with sorrows,
infirmities we cannot know, not
abiding on the streets, city underpasses
and parking garages, tent cities,
like the abundance we Others possess

Ilse Orsel

for now, like the Homeless bearing
their blessings on their backs
or in multiple grocery bags, and some
in a child’s wagon, some with a dog–
best friend cradled in a basket attached
to the handlebars of the bicycle found
beside a dumpster, shoes Duck-Taped
together like our lives we recognize
in each other,

Weston MacKinnon

my friend who asks Pastor John at the door
if I am behaving, and laughs, then says,
“Bob, you’re better than you know,”
and laughs again, a rumble gurgling up
from lungs earned through years
of weather sculpting his face, that smile,
those eyes that seek my soul, big hands
reaching to palm each of my shoulders,
holding me steady,

Zane Lee

and I know a little more of light
erasing the edges of darkness,
my friend’s love greater than hell’s despair,
a love I have not earned
but have been gifted.

Rahabi Khan