O father help me not to stare,
wide-eyed, when my brother falls.
Help me not to sniff his breath
for alcohol and cigarettes
or blasphemy, or Diet Coke.
To take his slurring words as jokes,
not call him drunkard, but von vivant.
Not call him other, but myself.
Help me not to wrinkle my nose
when the homeless guy comes in,
the one that stinks of piss and sweat
and slumps in the library chair
snoring loudly, his wind-chapped face
tucked into his Nylon coat sleeve--
as surely Jesus must have slept
while He roamed homeless through this world.