Pontificating from Sinai; or, How to be Helpful

Pastor preached on pontification
or rather how not to do that
which won’t be found welcoming.

Others look across the sidewalk
cracks, split between family,
work lost, life’s work not yet
ceased, or begun.

Pastor disavowed pontification
or rather why those might
see it thus-becoming.

Be simple, I thought, smile
as that man did to me.
The flash of teeth and recognition
of mutual struggle—familiarity.

Pastor preached pontification
in his sermon, pulpit-driven
beat drumming palms in rhythm with his voice.

The smile faded but his eyes
stayed on me as he strode next
to me, umbrella share, fanned above
the diminished strand between he and I.

Pastor stated—I didn’t want to—
pontificate. Sinai spoke, commanding,
motioned towards the one beside me.

But he had left, umbrella in my hand,
his bus removed. I smiled to a woman
beyond the sidewalk, cracked her teeth
open as I offered a half of his umbrella.

Pastor asked ‘Who are we reaching?’
outside pontification. I didn’t know

The rain fell beyond the umbrella.
We just talked, simply, and
she thanked me. I didn’t need
a whole umbrella.

Pastor preached on kindness—why
pontificate? He could share a story
of a bus-stop in the rain.




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