My salvation waits every week:
a beggar from back lots
where tropical rains beat
him ‘cause he was born,
brotherless, or broken.
From narrow charred, fetid back lanes
where garbage pickers are kings,
with same rail I grasp
the beggar hauls to his perch
at the top of the stairs.
I fasten my eyes where he sits at the top.
Each step up takes me further from the natural law
which seals my pockets up
clutching God’s money as if I made it.
I climb to his altar of need
to be shaken out
of my mixed-up middle class money
and all the options that go with it.
From the rail to my hand,
from his hand to the rail
came the dirt from the lots.
And the rail, my trail to freedom,
leaves my hands black:
dirtied hands, softened soul.
I plunge these filth-laden hands
into the sink back home.
Hot water magically eases out
of the crevices remains of the lanes.
I ponder the ease of ancient castes:
Mere responsibility without the strain…
But I sense the Adamic stain
which daily spreads
and the guttural cry from my soul
when it turns in on itself:
God won’t turn me inside out; but
He’s got me a date with the beggar
to unbend me from myself.
– Charity Johnson, 2013
“Our nature is so deeply curved in on itself…that it fails to realize that it curvedly and viciously seeks all things for its own sake.” – Martin Luther