Lesson in Service

I learned young
to serve:
ring the bell at Christmas,
thank strangers for their change,
handle hot tongs,
release chicken legs
onto soup kitchen plates,
bag diapers and tampons,
pass them to the poor,
no inkling one day,
I would be among them.
This, I learned older:
how hard it is to stand in line,
dressed respectably,
awaiting charity
dispensed by the pound.
How heavy
having empty hands.
How utterly void,
this ablated sense of self.
What a burden it is
not to be able to give.

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