A road in Virginia.
Photo courtesy of Mike Von/unsplash.com

Burke, Fairfax, Fairfax Station,  

green and rolling suburban hills, 

traffic-choked highways… 


Steamy kitchens,  

endless lines of 

weary, hungry 

men and women 

dressed in ragged hand-me-downs, 

hauling their whole lives  

in weighty parcels-backpacks 

and garbage bags… 


It’s a long way 

from leafy suburbs 

to the cold heart of a city- 

not in miles, 

but in the contrary images 

seen by eyes  

on opposite sides 

of a counter. 


A young girl hands a plate, 

piled high with a life—sustaining meal 

into gnarled hands; 


“thank you” and “you’re welcome” 

are exchanged, a quick link made, 

then it’s time  

to serve the next; 

there are so many 

hungry faces. 


The girl has no time to wonder 

where each one sleeps at night 

or where they find sanctuary  

from drenching rain and icy winds- 

there are so many  

hungry faces. 


Evening comes; 

the children of Burke and Fairfax 

sit in comfort, 

pens and notebooks in hand. 


I sit here with them, 

sharing their comfort, 

waiting to hear 

how they’ve been touched 

by this morning’s hungry souls. 


I sit here with memories  

of a thousand mornings 

standing frozen, hungry, and weary 

with my whole life  

hanging from my shoulders, 

awaiting a life-sustained meal 

and, hopefully, a smile 

from one of the children 

of Burke and Fairfax