What's a Good Person to Do? By Bruce E. Whitacre

I dare you to make a pie that's not

filled with chemically burned hands.

I dare you to light a burner that's not

fueled by a genocide.


I dare you to grill a steak that's not

branded and slaughtered in industrial agony.

I dare you to open a cupboard, a closet, and not

find a dead whale beached, a child's body afloat.


What is a good person to do?


Heroes have sat for years on pillars,

scourged themselves back, climbed mountains on raw knees.

Heroes have been burned alive,

or snuffed out by overworked open hearts.


Let the news snack at your table

muddy your floor, spill your garbage.

Wallow in the filthy swamp of sweatshop frocks

seeping from your closet. Swallow sand. See.


My tongue probes the aching tooth of guilt

the sweet pain of lingering faith I deserve this—

I earned this kitchen of nails, this hair shirt of an apron.

I mind my own business and clean, clean, clean...


What else can a good person do?