Kindness of the saints

The maniac Simon Freidland creeps along the city street; his pants splashed with mud.

A tattered coat little defence against the cold, he sleeps on a mattress outside the train station,

His beloved wife left him when the money ran out, and the booze took hold.

He saw Saint Patrick last night

Between the Woolworths and the liquor store.

The Saint had nodded and understood all at once

How unfair life had become and this kindness of the Saint filled Simon with a warmth

That faded into a soft light at two a.m. just as the gentle rain began to fall.


Simon’s wife, only blocks away on the thirtieth floor of a high rise building

Rolls over in the warm bed

And runs her hand between her legs and along her belly.

He is in the bathroom and in this moment of reflection,

She looks in the mirror and thinks how time has rushed away

She holds back a tear

But the emptiness inside pains her.

What she has lost will not be found with different men each night.


Andrew stands in the bathroom and wonders about his health.

It has started to sting when he urinates

And sometimes sores appear on his body.

He has told no one. His mind goes to the woman in his apartment,

Lying in his bed.

He didn’t know her five hours ago and now she is spending the night.

He knows how to convince women to take their clothes off

But he can’t remember the date of his son’s birth.


Andrew’s mother lies quietly in her bed a state away,

In the morning she will be dead. She has been sick lately and now old age can take no more.

She dreams of the Virgin Mary, whose gentle actions and thoughts save the souls of tired sinners.

What dreams do the dying dream? She once wondered

And now, in her final hours she discovers. They are sad dreams, lonely dreams

No different to any of the dreams she has had before.

When that dream ends, she dreams Andrew has come home to see her for this last moment.

The lonely room within this quiet house will hold her safe while she fades away.

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