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Without Mercy


I can give you parts of myself,
scraps of life, things seen
by me, by others, people
from a distance sometimes:
but I do not have in my wealth
shell holes in my house,
the driftwood possessions of a life
spoiled and despoiled by hate;
the fear of a boot’s scrape at dead of night
a sister killed or a father
or a slaughtered son.

I have not trudged laden
by a lifetime’s salvage
wide eyed and exhausted
away from desolation
into desolation.
I do not have the pain
of a demolished heart.

Seeing such wounds
I laugh at my scratches
picking at the scars compulsively,
knowing that which life has bequeathed me
by a hair’s breadth
and what has fallen to others
without cause or justice
or mercy.

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