I Saw One of The Righteous 36* Yesterday
his burnished skin as fresh as a horse chestnut.
He looked up at me from his wheelchair on East 30th street
as I trudged beside the homeless shelter.
The forsaken December sidewalk crowded
with huddling men, cigarette smoke drifting
above our heads, metal carts
filled with a life’s holdings.
When I glanced at him, he looked straight into me
with a beatific smile so luminous, it lit up the grey underpass.
Twice that day I passed the same spot searching for him
wanting to kneel in front of him, my head bowed in supplication
with a plea for mercy and forgiveness.
* Jewish mystical tradition believes there are 36 humble, righteous people who wander the Earth at all times. Each of them does not know who the others are, as well as each one does not know they are one of the 36. As long as all 36 of these pious ones exist, humanity will be allowed to continue.
Thomasina Levy bio:
I am a poet and award-winning musician (Connecticut State Troubadour 2005/2006) who uses poetry, music and art to help students of all ages discover their own creative spirits. My poems have been included in various publications. “Evensong” is on Connecticut Poetry Society’s website and “Lazaretto” was printed in the Cape Cod Times in May 2020. My found poem, “Gasconading Bluster,” was accepted in the 2018 anthology titled, “Unlocking the Word” edited by Jonas Zdanys.