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An Act of Kindness
Ellaraine Lockie


She is one of the women
who travels daily from her township
Singing in the back of a pick-up truck
with a chorus of others
Come to clean the rooms
in my B & B bordering Kruger Park

She sees me walking a path
parallel to the Crocodile River
I see her running toward me
Watch her fall to her knees before me
Close the lowest five button holes
that fashion the front of my
ankle-length straight skirt

She says something in Swati
Looks up at me as a lilac-blue blossom
drops from a jacaranda tree
And under the kindness of shade
she pats my calves

I can’'t interpret the words
but I can read her body language
There my dear
I’'ve closed the open invitation
The accident that wrote itself
across your womanhood
I know this because here
no woman would walk
aware of bare thighs winking
between the weave of khaki

I help her up
Hold her hardened hands
Thank her by returning
the sunshine of her smile
And waddle like a knobbellied duck
back to my room where I segregate
the unbefitting skirt to a suitcase

From Stroking David’'s Leg (Foothills Publishing, 2009).
Used here with the author'’s permission.



Photo by Alexis Rhone Fancher

Ellaraine Lockie grew up in a Montana farm town and writes at her local Starbucks every morning because it feels like one of the friendly coffee shops where she grew up, a place where everyone knew everyone else who came for coffee and camaraderie. Along with publications in the standard journals, Ellaraine's poems have appeared on broadsides, buses, rented cars, bicycles, cabins, greeting cards, key chains, bookmarks, mugs, coffee sack labels, church bulletins, radio shows and cable TV.
Ellaraine serves as Poetry Editor for the lifestyles magazine, LILIPOH.



Post New Comment:
I like the slightly-unsympathetic view of the "I" in this poem, the admittance of the poet's self-implication.
Posted 10/16/2011 09:19 PM
Mary Lou:
Ellaraine, this poem has everything. A poem that makes me want to write my own version starring the lady who works at my house. I've had a few wobbles myself.
Posted 10/15/2011 02:32 PM
the kindness of it brought tears to my eyes, and then the last line, a laugh! Love the poem, Ellaraine... Sharon Auberle
Posted 10/15/2011 09:12 AM
Ralph Murre:
Amazing good work, Ellaraine. Good to see it here.
Posted 10/15/2011 09:10 AM
Gail Goepfert:
The story . . . I love the story here. It is as if I am there!
Posted 10/15/2011 07:53 AM
I love this - especially the body language! I'd love to read a non-verbal conversation in the same voice, addressing another being in wordless dialogue. (If you can interpret that, you're doing well.)
Posted 10/15/2011 07:49 AM

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