Sister Olivia

sister olivia smiles at us,
eighty-some years behind those eyes,
those big, brown eyes
two of julian’s hazelnuts
dancing behind thick lenses.
more than two decades in japan,
revered throughout the island nation
for her kindness,
those three strike me,
connect me deeper within myself
a longing,
a calling,
a yearning
to be like sister olivia,
to make change in the world
to wipe down tables,
serve soup,
teach long hours,
write poetry,
and all with a smile.
sister olivia’s smile
speaks ten thousand words
of welcome and peace.
we smile back at sister olivia.
she winks and goes back to cleaning,
perhaps not even knowing
the health and healing she has just spoken.


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