Penance

On behalf of my left leg
and its limber history
I’d like to apologize 
for how it has kicked
and lashed out on occasion
for reasons gone dim
and mostly forgotten, which
may have seemed vital at the time
but now are nothing, nothing at all.

On behalf of my right hand
and its misshapen grasp
of importance and digging in
when things get tough
I’d like to do penance 
for those times I held fast
to what I should have released
and let go of those I should have
held close. I truly believed 
in myself when I did those things
and now that I know how untrustworthy
I was and still am, I cannot look
down at my arm without shuddering.

On behalf of my genitals,
I am sorry I listened to them 
as often as I did. On behalf
of my eyes, I am sorry I did not
see what was plain. On behalf 
of my skin, I apologize for
not paying attention to how
the hairs stood up on my neck
around some and how they did not
around others, and for how often 
I got it wrong — more often
than not, more often than seldom.

On behalf of the body, I lay myself
down and say no more. On behalf
of what the body did and did not do,
on behalf of how I drove it and dragged it
and how it took me and pushed me
in turn, I say sorry and my fault and
agree to every accusation and complaint
lodged against it and against me, 
even the ones only I know enough to make;

I see now how the body and I
colluded in this festival of indifference
and poor choices called a life, and 
on behalf of the body, on behalf
of myself within, though I know
I cannot offer enough

of what’s left of us
to justice or mercy,

I say
take what there is,

and let us be done.

About Tony Brown

A poet with a history in slam, lots of publications; my personal poetry and a little bit of daily life and opinions. Read the page called "About..." for the details. View all posts by Tony Brown

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