Give thanks to the ones who come to our homes

to wash bodies, open windows, fill plastic waterbottles.

Gratitude to the ones who speak the Esperanto of the heart

though English may be a second language.

They are called Home Health Aides, and Personal Assistants.

We should praise them in all their euphemisms.

They help us to the bathroom and rub our feet.

They chat us up as if we were at a cocktail party for the bedridden.

They put our minds at ease.

These helpers become our intimates at the speed of light.

Sickness parts the curtain and they walk in with a cup of warm broth.

We have known them all our lives because illness shrinks time

down to a single moment of tangled sheets.

These care givers renew our unloved kitchens

and fill the house with the bird song of activity.

They come alone and unencumbered. and when they leave

a trace of kindness lingers in the hallways.

These are the people who have witnessed misery without borders,

yet they speak the lullaby of their own language until we fall asleep.

Armand Brint, September 2019