As Time Passes (Three Poems About The Same Incident)

Poem By Allan Thorne


I stand next to my car
Filling the tank with gas
Watching a man and a woman
Both over fifty
Push their dead car
Up to the pump.

The woman approaches me.
“I need money for gas.
My husband has cancer.
I’m trying to get him
To the veteran’s hospital.
He will be dead by Christmas.”

In the face of this wall of sorrow
All I can do is fumble a couple of bucks
Out of my wallet and mumble I’m sorry.

Sorry indeed,
Helpless, and useless,
And sorry indeed.

'On Consideration'

Later over tea and toast
I marvel at the perfection of it all
The beautiful woman
In need of my help.
The heart-breaking story,
The reference to Christmas
Reminding me of my Christian duty
And my relative comfort
And last but not least
The broken car
Pushed into the lot
Doors flopping open helplessly.

My girl friend remarks
“Well if they were grifters
At least they put on a good show.
That’s probably worth two bucks.”

'Last Word'

A Christmas card
Arrives in the mail
It reads

Season Greetings
From Jessica and Steve.
Steve died of cancer a few weeks ago.
Merry Christmas!


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