the Word of God to the bao shop folk

by Kimbol Soques

after 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22

Four of us “behind” the open counter and hallway prep-line,

six across the tables,

plus the mother and proud-walking baby at the picnic table outside—

let’s esteem each other highly

in this moment: some who are steaming and serving

some refueling

before walking, scrubbed, back to the doctor’s office

before driving back to . . . our circumstance is not always written on our skin.

It can be hard to give thanks over scalding water

to give thanks while composing a gentle face outward to a rage and onslaught

to give thanks when foot-arches ache, the forearm blisters,

or the delivery person forgets the carrots

and now there’s no orange beauty in the pickles for three days.

Encourage the driver anyway, with pickles

help the recovery nurse with quick lychee & boba milk-tea

be patient with all of them,

especially, new-walker, be patient with all of us, as you wait and hold fast to a

KIMBOL SOQUES has been writing since before she got her first typewriter at age 3. In poetry, she strives to pare down to the bone, using white space like breath. Her work has been included in a variety of publications, including Non-Binary Review, Gyroscope Review, and This Present Former Glory, and has been nominated for Best of the Net. She lives and writes in Austin, Texas.

Featured Image: “Roast duck and roast pork gua bao 刈包” by Alpha