What We Call Things

[Image Description: Close-up of woven fabric, in loose, square weave]

Harms are more ignorable in isolation.
Blame a single culprit,
a bad apple,
a place or person gone astray.

Yet, entire congregations
assembled in old movie theaters,
and pole barns with steeples,
and old-worldly cathedrals
can be convinced to
harm our own children
and call it loving discipline.

Convinced to welcome high-profile abusers
with open arms
and sold-out conferences
and chance after chance to start over
and call it forgiveness.

Convince victims they
they must suffer silently,
not to harm another’s reputation
for what (they are told),
if they’re honest,
they brought on themselves,
allowed to happen,
and call it God’s will.

State violence,
laws unequally enforced,
harm disproportionate,
wielded against those with certain
tone of skin
and this is called justice.

Powerful people
are encouraged to
rig the system,
exploit
and cheat for their own gain,
and this is called success.

Those impacted by
generations of exploitation,
are deprived of access to meet even basic needs
and blamed for not utilizing non-existent bootstraps,
and this is called their own laziness.

We convince ourselves
these are individual cases, misfortunes,
or failures.
One-offs,
special circumstances,
not all [fill in the blank].

And ignore our own refusal to call
the horrifying tapestry
woven from a thread
of domination,
what it is.

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