kiss of life

a good thing happened today
while in some other country
families lie unburied 
in the streets:
victims of a war
of nationality and empire
as all wars are

meantime as I walked
by a sunlit canal
a buoyant young man
in a baseball cap stopped
and offered me 
his hand
I took it and shook it
then he bent his head 
and kissed my hand
said something 
I know not what
wheeled on his heel
didn’t look back
and sweet-faced 
ran fast into his future
a woman I barely know 
came up behind me
I told her my story
of how my hand 
had been wordless kissed
then she smiled at me
and kissed it too…
I’m with him 
twice every week
he’s my charge
he’s so lovely
just a boy 
in a man’s body
I do understand now
how she feels
she’s right about him 
I know for sure
at a wretched time
we’ve been beautifully blessed
by this lovely boy
who’s made a good thing 
happen to us both
Jeff Cloves
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