This entry is part 7 of 73 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2011-12


“The quality of mercy is not strain’d…”
— “The Merchant of Venice”,  Shakespeare

Before snow blew sideways, scattering
crystalline fragments, we held up metal

wires dipped in magnesium, ferrotitanium.
Held to a match, rich white and golden yellow

sparks branched off into the dark. Don’t lend
out any money today, the feast of Niños

Inocentes. Or if you do, don’t count
on getting any of it back. For a second,

think back to the story of soldiers scouring
the countryside for infant boys to slaughter

in their sleep. There is a difference between
naivete and the purely diabolical. Insist

on the former as an undeveloped state
that might yet lead to grace. The deer

might come to lick at lumps of packed
salt you’ve placed at the far end of

the garden. When they do, sit still, just
watch them. I know it’s hard, but hold

your face up to the fading light, mouth
rehearsing the ancient shapes of wonder.


In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

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