The Unexpected

(After Watching a Documentary on North Korea) 

there are unexpected pleasures
which appear
in the form of vegetables
on your doorstep—
a gift from your neighbor,
whose surplus
became a kindness
you will want to repay.

Once, we woke in winter
to the noise of another neighbor
pushing his snow blower
up and down our drive,
making it clear
that we live in a small world
covered with goodwill
that grows out of prosperity
and the altruistic
nature of humanity.

An open door
is the contribution of this house.
Children are welcome here
when babysitters get sick
or mothers won’t make it home
before the bus.
Snacks or dinners
or beds are available here
on short notice
without charge.

is easiest
when the streets outside
are clean and unpopulated
with hunger or need—
when every television on your street
offers the illusion of choice
between reality or news
and you have no remote control
to turn it off.


DeMaris Gaunt

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