Beholden

What debts we carry in this life—
             What debts we'd carry to the grave
                            if not for small saving graces—

                            Before we even think to ask,
              some last-minute kindness manifests.
What debts we carry in this life

knock blindly through the night:
             mumbling or keening, deepest grief
                           bereft of saving grace.

                           Our hearts wall up  
             in vaults of our own devising.
What debts we carry in this life

pile stone upon teetering stone,  
            as if  to make a cairn for navigation.
                          If not for small saving graces,

we'd have lost our way; we'd be
            banks of burnt stubs and ash.
What debts we carry in this life
           if not for small saving graces.

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