.red cross.

red cross

a simple sign that says kindness helps

and needs volunteers

so i do one day a week alone upstairs

if possible

the power of such a thing is endless

as i sift and sort the black bags and

cardboard box i think of you

a leather bag with purse: pink plastic comb

still grubby with your hair intact.

lace handkerchiefs, letters i leave unread.

dead people’s handbags, dead folks

clothes. mothballs they say are hard

to come by, i know different, smell them now.

washing hands is regular. compulsive.

odours cling. thoughts sing that kindness

comes easy.

sounds, chatter from the store below rise and when thoughts subside

i listen here and there, customers clients and staff.

the box contains your little things, the company of pretty

your joy of small items

dust coats the air, motes of your living days. a drink is

welcome. move on.

another bag is baby clothes, joyful thoughts of children growing.

showing them to colleagues we smile together, steaming in

the upper room

warm the days now, summer the nights are hotter. murmuring continues below.

you hear things if you listen.

she said

we should help people in this country

first, not those abroad .

bloody immigrants

yet these are the numbers the scared and dying


established volunteer talking loudly to her young customer

asking about the washing,

yes i

hang it in the garden, in sun and breeze

to dry fresh.

staff replied that is what peasants do.

gippos, you know their sort.

i stopped the sorting.


report it

fight, flight or write of it?

i touched a little coat gently

said goodbye to that upper room left quietly

it is hard to do nothing, not react

my issue

their sign says kindness helps

red cross

a red cross