Names and Faces

I want to play cards
with that stranger on the bus — 
the man with a worn out face,
in a wrinkled suit,
staring out the window;
I want to greet him
like we’re long lost friends,
and find out the worst thing
that ever happened to him.

I want to swing in a hammock
with that woman in the grocery store — 
the anxious one standing in line
with maroon manicured nails;
she’s browsing celebrity magazines,
and I want to know what she’s
trying to distract herself from,
to learn what gets her
out of bed in the morning.

I want to grab a drink
with that old bum with no teeth — 
he’s spitting obscenities into the sky;
I want to ask him to tell me
about the best day he ever had,
about everything that led to this moment.
I want to ask him to tell me
his middle name,
and where his parents were born.

I want to play a prank
on that gruff man in the coffee shop — 
the one yelling at the barista
for not giving him the right drink;
maybe I could pull his pants down
around his ankles,
or make funny faces.
Maybe I could remind him to stop
taking himself so seriously,
make him laugh,
and find out what
he’s really upset about — 
it couldn’t possibly be the drink.

I want to give
all the lonely people hugs,
and all the happy people high fives,
and all the stressed out people massages,
and sing all the angry people lullabies.

I want to cry for everyone in grief,
and smile for everyone in love.
I want to find out
what makes
every last person
on this planet tick — 
to listen to their stories,
celebrate their victories,
commiserate their losses.

I want to take a wrecking ball,
and smash down the walls
around my heart — 
to become unguarded,
to love so hard
it leaves burn marks
on my chest.

I want to renounce
judgement and fear,
to learn how to really listen,
to find God in the creases
of every single face,
to welcome each
screaming infant
into the world with glee.

I want to stop holding back,
to become vulnerable and brave,
to open my eyes and really see,
and allow myself to really be seen.

My skin grew thick
for a reason — 
setting aside a lifetime
of hurt takes time;
so every day
I practice forgiveness,
and try a little bit harder
to remember
names and faces.