The woman toiled forward,
The sun radiating heat
Beat beat beating down
On her back like
Congo drums or a
Feet worn hide tough
Began to crack and bleed
Between blister ravines,
And in her arms, a
Physically heavy yet
Delightfully light burden,
A bundle of joy,
Her boy, though wrought
She stumbled into the village,
Seeking the counsel and medicine
Of those purported wise,
Chosen by all the people
Of the land to lead them,
They are responsible for the
Proper allocation of life
As we come to know it.
Those men sat around a fire,
Drinking home brewed wine and
Talking of conquests past and
Those with potential for plunder
The woman’s pain yielded to relief:
Her boy was now in good hands,
And betwixt agonizing sobbing
And gore and dirt caked throbbing
She knew the joy of sanctuary.
Those men looked at her with
Equal parts amusement and
Contempt. They had no intention
Of helping heal the son.
“Why must we heal him when
He is yours to heal?
Your village surely has a healer,
Woman,” their voices thick with
Self-righteous and selfish venom.
“We have one who only accepts
Gold as payment, and another
Who kills more than he helps.
Why is it you can not help me?”
“We have decided it best that
The villages deal with it themselves.
’Tis not our place to administer
Medicine when there’s so much
To be done in looking after
The people,” the leader,
His hair wispy silver and gold,
“Be gone, and good luck.
I’m sure your village healer will do fine.
If not, find another.
It is not our place,
And with the denial of medicine
And care and decency and empathy
To a sick child,
The abdication to one’s claim to
A values-based, moral high ground
With a shrug of the shoulders and
A stroke of penmanship on parchment,
A callous shirking of inherited responsibility
Manifests itself as a crumbling facade,
Plaster of paris skin peeling away
Like leprosy, revealing nothing
But insect infested rot beneath.
With this abdication,
One cannot purport to care
About one’s fellow
Man and woman.
This abdication gives one lease
To plumb deep dark depths
Of scum previously unexplored
For fear of righteous retribution.
For one cannot fear
When one has killed the deity,
And made a mask of its face.