In rehab at a nursing home
Margaret from Kenya is washing my hair.
She is laughing and talking.
Her sounds are music
That makes me dance in my soul.
Margaret from Kenya is scrubbing my scalp
With her competent hands as she tells me
Her children are grown and no longer need her.
It’s time for her to move on.
Margaret from Kenya is washing my body.
Time for me to give back to society,
Time for my second life, she says.
At 55 she’ll be a nurse soon.
She’ll go to Africa to be with children with AIDS.
This is what I want to do most,
To help the children have a little happiness
And peace before they die.
Margaret from Kenya is rinsing my body.
If I can look back at the end of the day, she says.
And see that I’ve made one person happy
I myself am happy. I am complete.
She kept a journal when she was young.
I called it Wisdom’s Ways. The words weren’t mine.
They came to me and I wrote them down.
Then her brother destroyed her journal.
She never wrote again.
But wisdom’s words still come to Margaret.
Wisdom’s ways still guide her life.
She knows well that giving is receiving.
That life without love is joyless and bleak
In this place all warmth and water
Margaret is telling her story.
// Margaret Robison