I’ve never killed anyone…

Brussels-SproutNo, I’ve Never Killed Anyone

The common consolation
that we’re not that bad
only works if we’re able to find
those despicable creatures who are so vile,
baseless, and unloving that our selfishness
seems virtuous in comparison;

hopefully we only hear of such bad apples
on the news or in gossip—yes, that’s a comfortable
and safe distance, because it’s just too much
to experience such things ourselves
and it’s better to drive-by and gape
than to have our names on the accident report;

distance makes all things nice
when it comes to evil or misfortune or
dumb luck—a ‘there but for the grace of God’
voyeurism, or a prayer of thanksgiving
uttered in relief when we discover it’s just
the neighbor’s house ablaze and not our own;

we don’t steal candy from babies,
rape and pillage like barbarians, and
we’ve never killed anyone
(to the best of our knowledge), and maybe
we’ve been ignorant of the poor and hungry
of the world, as my mother used to say
when protesting my diet and volunteered
she could send starving children elsewhere
what I’d refused to eat since they’d be
so happy to have what I took for granted,
even brussels sprouts but brussels sprouts
never killed anyone either.

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