During World War II, Grandma Shorba
handed plates of bread and meat to strangers
who asked for work in exchange for food.
After chopping wood and mending fences,
the lean, stoop-shouldered men went on their way.
“May God watch over them,” Grandma said.
I was glad I didn’t have to follow them
down the long train tracks silvering west.
I didn’t want to sleep beside a strange campfire
around the bend, in the next world.
But I worried how they’d survive, and asked
my parents if they could live with us.
My begging only made everyone nervous.
Maybe Grandma’s stories of The Good Samaritan
and the Loaves and Fishes weren’t true?
If I’d been in charge, I’d have asked those men to stay—
but Gramma, who trusted God,
fed them, then sent them on their way.
“Grandma Shorba’s Ragamuffin Stew” by Freya Manfred from Speak, Mother. © Red Dragonfly Press, 2015.
From the Writer’s Almanac, June 10, 2015