I saw a twisted old woman half sitting,
half lying on the sidewalk,
I stopped to drop a peso In her basket.
As I bent down, she looked up,
her eyes probing mine, pulling me
into her very being.
Did I see the mother she had once been,
her children now scattered and lost to
Had she once been someone’s bride,
some young man’s passion?
Had her body always been broken,
or had she run with her friends laughing
in the sun?
Had she ever been carefree, giggling,
sharing her dreams and her longings?
Had she held the hands of her brothers
as they skipped across the plaza?
In her long life had she ever felt safe,
sheltered, and wholly loved?
Then I saw in those eyes
that she had been all those things.
Was all those things.
Is all those things.
As I finally released the coin
into her basket, she smiled
the sweetest smile, said “gracias.”
Then released me to my passing self.