We Are Mostly Merciful

Kimberly Grey

Again, everything is difficult again. The newspaper says
the world is in no way merciful. So we must be
in no way merciful.
I rehearsed it all night—the absence of mercy,
as a condition to you who said
when I am in the same room as your body I am
        in a different room.
There’s nothing exquisite
about lashing a thing unless the thing is blazon with want.
The minor part of me thinks obsession is what kills
thinking. The major part thinks obsession makes the world
go round. By Sunday, the trees are still
gold outside the window and we think we are fine.
That the world collects good
light and is saving it for us. We can think it’s mercy,
that a meteorite hit Russia
while we washed each other in the shower in California.
Or that death is only natural when it is
far away from us. No matter what’s happening, mercy is
when I tell you stay, the field is full of stray horses,
        or stay, your hair’s so wet it could freeze.

And you do, you stay, and collect all of your mercies
for me into one night. By morning, everything will be
difficult again. If a woman is bad, she can nuzzle
a horse’s head and be forgiven. But if a man
is named Leningrad, we will only think of him as burning.
It’s obsession that will never let us be good
to each other. It’s mercy that will keep us
in the same room. The brightness through the window
and the lashing of our bodies is too difficult to rehearse.
No matter how hard we try we could never be news.
But the light was good for me, was it good for you?

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