The Lady Outside the Pizza Place

The Lady Outside The Pizza Place

This is what I saw that day,
and this is what I did.
I’m sorry to say, you should know,
did not enough, not nearly enough,
Pray that I will grow.

Twenty something, would be my guess.
Clothes washed and clean, thrift store at best,
a little unkept and pretty too.
Desperate sweet face needy and poor,
with nothing to do.
The lady outside the pizza place.

Holding her future – placard in hand;
Words finely written, a bit darker than sand,
A plea for help; please help for food and rent,
the placard canvass neat – not bent.
On the sidewalk close she stood,
two feet or so from a can of trash,
inconspicuously – less imposing,
conspicuously – not bold or brash.

School kids, kind of rich kids;
braces and backpacks, designer shoes.
Trendy clothes too, a snapshot of cool!
Twenty the bunch at least;
their plates – more than full,
after school sidewalk pizza feast!
The feel of a party; having too much fun,
no time, no thought, no food – for a sidewalk “bum.”

Just a few steps; no just inches away.
The crowd squeezed her out of the way.
Smothering surrounding her space.
Shoulders bent forward, nudged nearer the trash.
Moved from her place; no resistance just grace,
a pleasant thin smile, an empty plate.
The lady outside the pizza place.

The look of sad humility,
if looking, hard not to see.
The lady outside the pizza place,
touched the heart and soul of me.
Of course, at first, I thought was good.
Reached in my pocket, five dollar bill,
The lady thanked me, but hungry still.

Did not humanize; did not look her in the eye,
no words of comfort, no plate of food.
Sitting near on a bench outside,
my piece of pizza was so good,
nice my hunger fill.
The lady hungry – humble still.
Bought her off with a five-dollar bill.

Nothing would’ve been wrong,
and everything right that day;
not black or white or even gray.
Twenty more and a plate of food,
could have easily been given.
I should have, I could have been driven.
Never again, do I want to do less.
Bring it to mind how God has blessed!
Help me be better, let me remember,
The lady outside the pizza place.

Joseph C. Hutchison, San Francisco, 2020
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