I carry something of home into each new year.
Into encounters with sick folk, seekers.
Loners sizing up shame from across the room.
Learners getting acquainted with the language.
Helpers suffering strong in their strength.
Old people looking for a lost child’s face.
I remember how it felt to be mute;
life like a lump stuck in my throat.
Crying on the pages of an untold story.
Wanting to come home, but afraid.
Afraid to listen to silence I had never heard.
I came back with empty bags, open hands,
and a heart soaking in serenity.
Door unlatched. Table set. Gathered good.
Saints and singers. Mercy menders.
Tutors of the languages of Love.
They’d been reading a book titled my secret name.
So I sat and learned to listen.
Quietly. Safely. At home.
My bag filled with new tools and tokens.
Now in every New Year
I can bring something of home to every house call.
“Rainbow Smokehouse,” watercolor art by Lester E. Potts, Jr., and artist who had Alzheimer’s