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Mike Sukowsky stood

Over a rough hewn table

In his backyard,

His 74-year-old

Left arm in a sling,

His body in

Everyday pain

From old wounds.

Next to him,

Fifteen-year-old Zack

A neighbor, stood holding a

Sharp and slender

Filet knife

Above two

Lifeless rainbow trout

Caught earlier that day.

Zack awaited Mike’s

Tutoring –

How to filet a fish.

Mike Sukowsky

Spends his retirement

Helping out family,

Friends, and neighbors.

He gets a kick out of it,

So he says.

Outside his neighborhood

And his small circle,

No one knows about

Mike Sukowsky, and

likely no one else

Of his ilk.

They do what they do


Without hoopla.

When you go about your

Chosen purpose

Without fanfare or self-promotion,

When your actions do not need


When your beliefs preclude


You move towards

True humility

And don’t even know it.

“Not knowing it”

Marks the humble,

A departure from

Comparing and measuring,

Or striving for

External recognition.

Or carrying the

Constant stress of


Claiming or

Professing humility

Raises suspicions

Of “Un-humility."

To wit,

Declarations of humility

Have become the calling card

Of social media,

The masqueraded

Hubris of credit-seekers.

Call them what they are:

“The Un-Humble”

You’ve seen the posts:

“I am humbled to be the

Featured presenter…”

“I am truly humbled to be named…”

“I am proud to be selected…”

“I am humbled to have been awarded...”

The humble do not,

By definition of the word,

Announce their humility.

Eons will pass

And still you will not hear the

Mike Sukowskys announce:

“I am humble.”

Humble individuals do not

Think of themselves as


That would be prideful.

Let me be clear:

The province of the humble

I do not know well.

I can only guess.

By my reckoning,

The for-real humble

Function without need

Of notice,

Seem more interested

In progress than plaudits,

Avoid like poison

Red carpets and selfies.

I wonder if

The humble of the world

Have a keener

Appreciation for

Human smallness:

That we scurry like

Ants on the floor of a

Single planet,

In a galaxy of

200 billion stars

In a Known Universe of

200 billion galaxies.

Do they know

By uncommon sense

The lie of “I am special,”

The comforting hallucination

Of the ignorant Person,

Group, Nation, Idealogy?

What would it take

For me to notice

That all real and

Imagined differences


In a vast sea of

Sameness, and

Even those I judge

As bizarre or


Resemble me?

Perhaps the humble

See themselves

As they really are:

Nothing more,

Nothing less,

Accepting and applying their strengths,

Acknowledging their weaknesses,

Going about their days and nights

Without the pretense

Of self-elevation,

Or self-deprecation.

Tuned-in as they are

To the Luck of the draw,

The humble affirm

The randomness of Life,

Giving fortune its due for

Both progress and pain.

Somehow, they hold

Personal responsibility and

Respect for the unknown

In never-perfect balance.


The knife-edge

Between themselves and

The convict,

The sinner,

The out-of-control,

The irresponsible,

Awakens in the

Truly humble

an ancient,

Uneasy Truth:

“There but for the

Grace of God

Go I.”

This mantra,


the mistakes,

Inconsistencies, and

Character defects

Of others, rests on

A quiet assumption:

“They’re doing

The best they can.”

Not standing above

Or lurking below

The humble see themselves

In all deficits,


In contrast,

I speculate

One synonym for

The superior:


I plead and pray

For taming the

Prideful parts of

Myself and whoever

Fits the shoe,

Who care

More about credit

Than credibility,

And more about


Than impact.

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