I have been laid off from jobs three times during my lifetime. The first time was during the recession of 1980. I was the single mother of two young children and I had to pack up, uproot my children and leave my beloved hills of southern Ohio to find work in Columbus. The second time my company laid me off two weeks before Christmas. Some of you know what that's like. Try to remain calm and upbeat so your kids can have a happy holiday, while you're drowning inside. Fortunately I was rehired soon after. The third time was awful. I was ill and afraid that I might lose the home I had purchased. Thank goodness the kids were grown and I had only myself to worry about.
Jacquelyn K. Thompson
Homeless stranger lying on the lawn
wrapped in your tattered coat,
covered by the morning dew.
I can not say that I understand
what you are going through, because
never have I walked in your shoes.
But I have walked along
my own life line
one step over...then draw back.
Walking a tightrope throughout the years...
stumble here, live with the fear.
No home now? My children, my children.
Then righting myself, just in time
a balancing act to walk that line
over and over...quickly draw back!
Another stranger sitting on the grass,
hand held out to share his bread
with God's small creature come to ask.
Turning full circle I looked about.
There lay all the strangers, homeless
on the Statehouse grounds.
While overhead steel monuments shadows cast
their pall...silently brooding
giving testimony to man's indifference.
Shadows falling down upon the flow of man
anxiously awaits the end of day, fleeing
to sheltered homes in sterile fortresses.
Ghostly shadows, passersby...preferred secrets
hidden in the recesses of their minds
rejects your existence with downturned eyes.
With silent tears I walked on by
cowardly determined to toe the line.
For willingly taken just two short steps...
Two steps over and I won't go back.