say yes

when you’re reading at the park
and a stranger asks to join you
put down your book
slide across the bench
and, by all means:

say yes

she’ll be smoking
her accent tricky to decipher
but you’ll smile politely
when you hear of her daughter’s
upcoming wedding
and her son’s new girlfriend

the breeze will pick up
the trees will bend
and pink-streaked magnolia blooms
will mingle with ash in the wind

she’ll look off into the greening wood
pausing for a moment
and tell you she’s visiting family
in the middle east this summer

you’ll ask what brought her here
and she’ll tell you:
I escaped from my husband
after he beat me into a coma
years and years ago

you won’t know how to respond
so you’ll stare into the wood as well
and simply tell her:
I’m glad your here

When the cigarette is just a nub
she’ll stand up to leave
after a few steps, she’ll glance back
a single nod and wave will do

reclaim your bench
return to your book
but first, allow yourself this insight:
you must always make time

to say yes.