Korah Poem

The first thing I noticed

When arriving back home

Wasn’t pity

Wasn’t sadness

Wasn’t guilt for my “known.”

The air all around me

How was it so clear?

My lungs, back to smiling,

While theirs, still in tears.

As I sat on a mud porch

In Korah one day,

drinking some coffee

that Alem just made;

I looked up and over

A cinderblock wall

Beyond shards of glass

And here’s what I saw:

Tiny people in the distance

But only tiny from afar;

Appeared on a mountain

Searching, working so hard.

They weren’t merely hiking

Nor simply climbing this mount;

They were surviving for the day

By scouring about.

This mountain before me

Entirely trash;

Keep these people alive

They live in the ash.

This dump

Once for lepers

Abandoned, alone;

Has grown into “Korah”

For thousands, a home.

The trash,

It engulfs

Above, below, all around.

The people don’t see it,

To their norm, they are bound.

So you see this,

you meet this,

you stare it down face to face




actually take on a name.

And you wonder, “what can I do?”

Will action yield change?

Each effort

Each prayer prayed

Is it all done in vain?

Cue Elsa’s entrance

A girl off the streets

She sits on your lap

Bringing something to read

The city of Babel

Is where you feel with each word;

Her speech

Beyond foreign

But yet somehow she’s heard.

The book that she reads from

Isn’t fable nor tale;

It’s the one thing that binds us

Understanding unveiled.

I reach for my bible,

And follow along;

“The light shines in the darkness…”

She’s reading from John.

These people,

They’re happy.

Because to them, this is home.

They know God,

They need Him

They don’t walk alone.

You know?

If they came here—

To the U.S. of A;

I bet you they’d go back

And pray for our ways.

They’d speak of our clean air

Of our cars and our malls;

But ask how we know Him

Do we need God at all?

We’re poor in spirit

They’re poor as poor gets.

But is joy in the trash

Better than joy never met?