Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Danusha Laméris: Small Kindnesses

I’ve been thinking about the way, when you walk 

down a crowded aisle, people pull in their legs 

to let you by. Or how strangers still say “bless you” 

when someone sneezes, a leftover 

from the Bubonic plague. “Don’t die,” we are saying. 

And sometimes, when you spill lemons 

from your grocery bag, someone else will help you 

pick them up. Mostly, we don’t want to harm each other.

We want to be handed our cup of coffee hot, 

and to say thank you to the person handing it. To smile 

at them and for them to smile back. For the waitress 

to call us honey when she sets down the bowl of clam chowder, 

and for the driver in the red pick-up truck to let us pass.

We have so little of each other, now. So far 

from tribe and fire. Only these brief moments of exchange. 

What if they are the true dwelling of the holy, these 

fleeting temples we make together when we say, “Here,

have my seat,” “Go ahead—you first,” “I like your hat.”


Copyright 2019 Danusha Laméris. First published in Healing the Divide: Poems of Kindness and Connection from Green Writers Press. Included in Vox Populi by permission of the author.

 This poem will be appearing in Danusha’s new collection Bonfire Opera to be released in spring 2020 in the Pitt Poetry Series. 

10 comments on “Danusha Laméris: Small Kindnesses

  1. mary pat p kane
    October 25, 2019

    wow, you spoke to my constant, of late, lament. thank you soo much. i write about this a lot but not so well!!! i long for the world where we said even a ‘hello’, all i have now in my neighborhood is little kids and dogs to speak to. everyone else is on a phone. very sad tho the phone people seem entranced!!! mary pat kane

    Like

  2. Lesli Lee
    October 15, 2019

    Lovely! Thank you for naming these small yet holy kindnesses.💜

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pressley Sutherland
    October 9, 2019

    Keen signposting. There and there and there. In an age of anxiety, this is no minor miracle. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sibendu Das
    September 29, 2019

    Very nice, Danusha. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Matty Benkofske
    September 16, 2019

    This poem is being sent around on Facebook right now as I am sure you were aware of. What a beautiful poem That springs from what must be a beautiful heart. Thank you for taking the time to ponder little kindnesses.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. JoAnn Wingfield
    September 14, 2019

    This touched me beyond words.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. dovesoup
    September 10, 2019

    When I read this poem, everything around me softened for a moment.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Maggie McPhillips
    August 20, 2019

    This touched me deeply; profound in it’s simplicity. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Nancy Brown
    August 14, 2019

    I hear your voice as I read aloud in mine. So beautiful

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Bill Bickford
    August 11, 2019

    Lovely.

    Liked by 1 person

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