by Geoff Knowlton

(1 Kings 19)

Baggy sweatshirt
Baggy pants dragging on the floor.
 A complaining face growled,
“I hate this, counseling is stupid.”
“I don’t like talking and I don’t like feelings.”

I'm being berated by a child
And told what I do is a waste.

I wonder why I do this,
But the way you bend your nine year old
Neck and shoulders
The way you hold your side tells me what
Your mother
Was covering up
When she dressed you this way.
And I still wonder why.
I know what will happen.
I will gain your trust and you will tell me about the bruises.
I’ll make a call and fill out a form
And someone from the state
Will demand to be let into your mom’s house.
They’ll ask questions, look around and leave
Only to come back with the police.
Your life
Will forever 

I could be fixing cars for more money.
I could have a stress-free life
Not worrying about where you will end up.
So, why do I do this?
Because once God’s wind shattered the mountains of my fear
And complacency.
And asked, “what are you doing here?”

Geoff Knowlton is a psychotherapist specializing in counseling children in foster care. His poetry has been published in various places, including Friends Journal, the journal for Quakers. He has training in psychology and Christian theology and often writes about his experiences with his clients and other places as he reflects on the deeper truths revealed through them. Mr. Knowlton lives in Central Massachusetts.

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