Bruce Bennett




An Act of Mercy


The lobsters in the bag waiting to die
were barely still alive. They lacked for air.
The bag was sealed, which was the reason why
the lobsters in the bag waiting to die
were barely still alive. I saw them lie
motionless, and for a moment watched them there.
The lobsters in the bag waiting to die
were barely still alive. They lacked for air.

I opened up the plastic, and they stirred.
They would survive now till they hit the pot.
The moment of their death had been deferred.
I opened up the plastic, and they stirred.
No healing act of rescue had occurred.
Salvation didn’t arrive, and it would not.
I opened up the plastic, and they stirred.
They would survive now till they hit the pot.

I laid them on the floor and watched them move.
Gross gangly creatures, doomed, without a prayer,
without a thought, no hope, no fear, no love.
I laid them on the floor and watched them move.
I was a god as I watched from above.
I’d given them more time, some space, some air.
And I felt pity as I watched them move,
gross gangly creatures, doomed, without a prayer.

I could not save them. Worse, I’d watch them die,
feast on their meat, and toss them in the trash.
This was no act of mercy, which was why
I could not feel consoled. I’d watch them die.
Even my paltry pity was a lie!
Its savor had already turned to ash.
I would not save them. I would watch them die.
I’ll haul their sad remains out in the trash.

The lobsters in the bag waiting to die
filled me with guilt and shame. And I knew why.




Bruce Bennett is the author of ten books of poetry and more than thirty poetry chapbooks. His most recent book is Just Another Day in Just Our Town, Poems: New and Selected, 2000-2016 (Orchises Press, 2017), and his most recent chapbook is A Man Rode Into Town, (FootHills Publishing, 2018). He is Professor Emeritus of English at Wells College in Aurora, New York. His poetry website is https://justanotherdayinjustourtown.com.









                                    

 

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