The Quality of Mercy
Miriam Pederson

Her work is wasted, they say,
as she tries to lift the weight of sorrow
heavy as a brickyard
or a prison gate.

What can Mercy do
beneath this empty sky
with her few blankets,
her dwindling source of water?

How can she turn her solemn face
to Misery again and again
collecting his tears,
hearing him ask to die?

Come, she says,
I will do what I can.
And when I leave you,
mark the place where I knelt
beside you with a stone
too heavy to cast at your brother.



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