A Poem Will Do

— Nick Butterfield

He said, I’m grateful for the kindness of a stranger

who’s quick action cleared my airway from a gristled

piece of meat when nothing else had worked.

Now, 100 years old, he said, I am not always happy,

It’s about 50/50 now. I am happy when I can get it out,

what’s inside of me. Memories that lay heavy, in need a

Heimlich maneuver.

He said when I was a kid, I listened to Franklin Roosevelt

on our banister after dinner. He said, he had no fear of war

and was always a bit larger then life.

Listening to someone now is like listening to Jazz, or a

foreign language, or a ‘Sunday in Purgatory.’

What saves my life  isn’t my poems, its the kindness of strangers

who know how to listen.

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