James Diaz

The Way We Came

all that we lost
returning to us 
somehow / in the dead 
of light / this mad laughter 
carried on the wind

the man just barely holding on
against a 7-Eleven wall 
repeating the word “mom,” 
into the night 
reminds you 
how important it is to care 
for a stranger’s pain
and why not start now

and so you do
you ask him his name
and a little about his mother 
who, come to find out
has been dead for 20 years
still feels like yesterday,” he says 
through a wet slosh of hair 
and it’s all right there

are you helping or are you hurting?
someone has painted on the walls all across town,
are you getting this down?

you need to know 
that there are so few reasons why
we are here at all
and they start small 

and like this thing that will only get worse 
if you don’t do something about it 
like opening up a window 
and instead of jumping out
just breathing in
you gotta know sometimes
that just holding on is enough for one day.

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