"Would you mind if we bless your foot?" asks the young woman sitting beside me on BART.
"I'll take all the help I can get," I say.
They could be an ad for Christian youth. One hispanic woman, one white, one black, two young men. Their faces softly thrilled with their trip to San Francisco. They're going to church on Valencia Street, "God manifests in oil from the Bible there," says the girl on my right. Ice skating at Embarcadero later.
They reach out hesitant, delicate hands. "May we touch you?" A hand on my walking boot, another on my arm, they lay fingers lightly on each other. They all pray at once, strangely conversational, like overlapping dialogue in an Altman movie. "Jesus, your suffering on the cross was enough." "Take away her pain." "Let her be healed."
"Just the faith of a mustardseed is all you need." I don't know if I even have that much, I think, but no. I have faith.
Faith in my animal self that unfurls and stretches in the light of the full moon. In the alien moon herself, pasted yellow and flat in last night's sky. In friends who forbid me to ride the train and hobble home through dark streets, bundling me into a guest bed with borrowed pajamas and a glass of water. In the friend who makes a December refuge for me and my suitcase.
The homeless woman who sweeps an arm wide in greeting to everyone she passes. The elderly man in plaid pajamas out front of his building, chatting with a neighbor. The sudden, sharp column of sunlight between two buildings.
I have faith in pockets of strange beauty and unexpected generosity. A young man, good looking, in sunglasses, guards a shopping cart heaped with all his possessions.
He nods at my walking boot. "I hope you feel better soon," he says.