Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Love Thy Neighbor

"Drop that plate," the cop said,
like the plate was a gun.
Grabbed the ninety-year-old pastor
(to ensure he didn't run),

hauled him to the cruiser
and gave him a fine
for the crime of allowing
homeless people to dine.

For twenty-three years
they have met on the beach,
when the reporter asked why,
the pastor had this to preach:

Here in Fort Lauderdale
it's the most beautiful view,
and these people deserve
to enjoy it too.

We feed gourmet food
to over two hundred souls,
and we're not going to do it
stashed in some hole.

These new ordinances
have a straightforward cause:
the rich people control
the ones making the laws.

When I come back tomorrow,
I expect they'll take me to jail,
I'm a bee in their bonnet,
though I'm old and frail.

And so we have this simple fable:
the protected beach, the empty tables,
those who horde the fruits of others' labor,
and those who survive on the love of their neighbor.

Ninety year old arrested for feeding homeless.

© Samantha Bernstein

Samantha Bernstein is a PhD student in Toronto. Her memoir *Here We Are Among
the Living* was published by Tightrope Books in 2012.