I should be kind, you say, a spring sun
melting the ice of hardened opinion
with a shining softness
or the moist sweetness of chocolate chip
cookies offered warm, fresh from
the pan to the plate
because hard arguments never converted
anyone but kindness has.
How many chocolate chip cookies
eagerly baked — hide those shaking hands,
girls! — could have caught the blows
before the bruises took?
If we were just a little nicer —
offered gentle praise for the delicacy
of his shading, perhaps —
maybe that painter wouldn’t have
slaughtered six million Jews.
Someone should have offered the general
the comfortable chair, that plush seat
offering just the right amount of firmness
and embrace. He wouldn’t need
to fire his bullets then
if we weren’t so parsimonious.
If we praise the nobles, surely
they’ll share the grain. Don’t mention
the blight — guilt is too rude.
If we just wait without twitching
or flinching and shine the sunlight
of our brightest smiles, yes —
never needy or brittle or harsh!
They’ll do the right thing. Always
they know what’s best.
Oh here I go again, with that thorn
pricking even when I try on the petals
of the rose.
Too bad I’m just a bitch
(for such we call these women,
for their yapping and their bite)
snarling in the hard yard of truth
with all three muzzles
keeping the dead in
the living out