Kara Knickerbocker A Lesson in Direction

Love thy neighbor

I learned in Sunday school, saddle shoes

dangling. I made kindness

my religion, as elementary

as 1 + 1 = 2, but saw the way

society carved privilege, the way

hearts felt white hot hate.


And I saw it then, on Forbes

under the grayest October rain

among love-locked warriors

lining the slick streets, ready. Armed

with bagpipes and bright flags,

we soaked in strength together,

we showed up for one another.


Love thy neighbor

They preach,

bloodied flags tied at their waist,

trampled at their feet—

unless he’s Catholic

or Jewish or Mormon or Muslim,

unless he fought in a war

or has held the hand of another man.

You are all going to hell.


Trust me when I say I know

just where I am going—


after all, I have been taught

to keep my head down

my whole life.


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