Why does the bloated Biafra baby bring a tear,
and the hungry eye-cries of Haitian earthquake victims urge us to tear
our wallets from tightly held fists,
when the man,
the man with the sign in the planter area by the on-ramp,
we assume has a lesser need–that is, if we see him.
the lady trying to sell the grubby Beanie-baby at the entrance to the grocery store
does not deserve eye contact,
and we breeze by without even a “No, thank you”–that is, if we see her at all.
Are the far needs greater than the near?
Or just easier to get over? Unchanged.
Are foreigners more worthy than neighbors?
Or is it just safer to care in one fell feel-good swoop
than love thy ever-present neighbor as ourselves?