Appropriate

“Had she ever tried to convert any one herself? 

Did she not wish everybody merely to be themselves?” 

— Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

*

They no longer colonize with ships.
No armies arrive on my shore,
war-boots in sea-water until they
sink into wet sand and subdue.

Too costly.  And then you have to
leave a force to force compliance...
It’s ugly.

Instead,
they whisper, those enlightened
who yet carry the burden of rectitude.
A word, a phrase
spoken through the air,
taken in —
and I’m lost.
They no longer act;
they just wait until I
bow my head
beat my breast
seek forgiveness

from gods curiously unprepared
to absolve.

*

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