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Compassion is amazing —
when we give it freely
it doesn’t diminish,
it enriches our souls.

Joy, is a panhandler
(incapable of anything else),
she is also my friend.
Each morning
(on my way to work)
I eagerly anticipate
her greeting and warm smile.

I sit with her
on the sidewalk,
as witness
to her blackened eyes.
I listen to her stories
of beatings and abuse,
give solace
when she cries.
“Tears are a sign of weakness”
her father used to say.

I bring her tea
(cream and three sugars),
a bagel with cream cheese,
on mornings when frost
is on the ground,
and on the hearts,
of most passers-by.

She gives to me
her hand to hold,
an attentive ear
to my daily problems,
words of comfort
(when comfort is needed).

With her friendship,
Joy has enriched my soul
and filled my heart with tenderness.
She has given me so much
that I didn’t know existed —
I am deeply in her debt.

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