If poverty strips me of dignity, 
why is there stigma in a journey 
that hasn’t found how to flourish?

There is a multicolored fan within
poverty, the poorest in life are
the poor of empathy, the poor can
be whoever lacks basic dignity, 
toward oneself but others as well. 

When I say, I am poor and point
to a wallet until there are stretch 
marks, that is not what I should
mean. Poverty should not address
the size of an account but a lack. 

If I lack sincerity, I am poor. 
If I lack humility, I am poor. 
If I lack amiability, I am poor. 
If I lack civility, I am poor. 

If I lack a mirror to observe
my reflection as I hurt another, 
I am the poorest. I am poor because
I lack the necessary to find joy
in offering rather than taking. I am
poor because I lack the insight 
to give those who lack food, a drop 
of giveness, those who lack water, 
a well that nourishes the abyss 
of hurt until the swollen throat 
can speak, can denounce the stolen. 

If I listen to those who have lacked
water, food, bare essentials, I would
feel naked. There’s a barrier between
us and knowledge. If I do know, why 
do I feel disdain toward the poor? 

It is because I am poor but deny
it. I deny my poorness because 
it can’t be seen, it can’t be touched, 
it can’t be counted, can't be measured, 
yet I am poor. I'm the poorest 
of the poor as I seek for recognition
while dismissing those who also seek
for my approval. If my entire attention
could be contained in an embrace, that
moment would linger in a forever that 
can’t be bought, can’t be sold, can't 
be tainted, can't be broken in sorrow. 
Richness is not found in a shop window, 
but in a photographic stillness 
that finds transcendence in a motion
toward the immaterial whose precious 
desire is to allow a space for growth.     
Signature Lina Ru