In Transit

I mailed a package to myself, it never arrived.
Months later, wondering what it contained . . .
The package was oversized, I paid extra.
Mailed it from a place under trees. Surely shade
and sunlight was in the package. Mailed it
from a place compassionate to refugees.
Unopened envelops inside the package,
poems from kind students hoping for response.
How do we answer without knowing
who they were or what they said?
This is why you must smile at everyone,
living and dead, everywhere you go.
You have no idea what has been lost
in transit.

“In Transit” from Voices in the Air by Naomi Shihab Nye. Copyright © 2018 by Naomi Shihab Nye. Used by permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

This poem was originally read in the On Being episode “Poetry from the On Being Gathering.” Listen to Naomi Shihab Nye’s On Being interview, “Your Life Is a Poem.”