It is Well
Peace like a river eludes me.
This pilgrim heart pants hard
after water brooks, pauses
to refresh body and soul
by some rain-swollen stream.
Drizzled droplets accumulate
on cattails and cottonwoods,
elongate to tears that land
in slick ripples and plump
to rings, slip over rocks,
diffuse into freshet springs.
I’ll content myself with a creek.
I arrive late with no lesson plan,
two things a teacher must never do,
yet I find myself perpetually
unprepared this divisive November.
How long, O Lord?
My Sunday school students teeter
on metal chairs around a folding
table, paper cutout boredom
scissored in their eyes.
Will you look away forever?
My sentry heart grows footsore
watching for the dawn.
for the children of Lirio de los Valles
Joy in pigtails and faded purple shorts
takes my hand and pulls me to the
hard-packed haze that passes for a pitch.
Lucinda’s too small and I’m too old
to play fútbol with los gringos,
so we stand along the sidelines,
tossing a spongy ball between us.
Lucinda has little to call her own;
no shirt, no shoes, no parents,
nothing but a nombre, three saffron syllables
that summon sunshine in her smile.
Lucinda spots a bit of rojo on the ground,
plucks it with thumb and forefinger,
scours the dirt for more discarded beads.
Animated by chiaroscuro chatter,
her caramel eyes insist I help string
dusty handfuls of color on twine
scavenged from scraggly mesquite.
Lucinda schools me in the Spanish spectrum,
corrects my flat pronunciation.
Flourishing a finished bracelet,
she ties a half hitch around my wrist,
encircles me with friendship
in this home where patience nurtures,
mercy heals, justice and peace embrace.
Amy Nemecek lives in Michigan with her husband, son, and two cats. Her poetry appears in Windhover, Time of Singing, Stirring, 3288 Review, Mothers Always Write, Snapdragon, Ancient Paths, and Indiana Voice Journal. She works as a book editor and serves on the planning committee for the Breathe Writers Conference. When Amy isn’t working with words, she enjoys walking along country roads and traveling with her family.