Where I’m from, people still wave to each other, and if someone doesn’t,
you might say of her, She wouldn’t wave at you to save her life—
but you try anyway, give her a smile.
This is just one of the many ways we take care of one another, say: I see you, I feel you, I know you are real. I wave to Rick who picks up litter while walking his black labs, Olive and Basil—
hauling donut boxes, cigarettes and countless beer cans out of the brush
beside the road. And I say hello to Christy, who leaves almond croissants
in our mailbox and mason jars of fresh-pressed apple cider on our side porch.
I stop to check in on my mother-in-law—more like a second mother—who buys us toothpaste when it’s on sale, and calls
if an unfamiliar car is parked at our house.
We are going to have to return to this way of life, this giving without expectation,
this loving without conditions. We need
to stand eye to eye again, and keep asking—
no matter how busy—How are you, how’s your wife, how’s your knee?, making
this talk we insist on calling small, though kindness is what keeps us alive.