Harvest of Thorns


by Scott O'Brien

Whom are they arresting?
Today, for the bomb in Times Square,
the one that did not go off,
except in people’s hearts
and exploded faith - after calling us back
from the borders of daily care
to stand and watch in horror.
Whom did they arrest?
Not the insatiable hatred, not
this misplaced
passion, obsessed with righting
wrongs at the expense of all
that is
right.
Not the shadow of revenge,
which knows no solace,
runs from loving
caresses, spits out the cloying taste
of reconciliation.
No, they never arrest the right one:
that shadow fleeing
over there, just now
disappearing down the subway,
rounding that corner, the one who
has never yet been caught
in all these millennia
of wars, murderous martyrs,
and lunacy.
Each springs boxes him in,
every butterfly is a bomber,
fixing him in her sights,
every child’s smile a vicious
attack; only a cemetery feels
like home to him.

Such a strange universe, calling for help,
holding so close to its heart
this harvest of thorns.

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