Monday, October 12, 2020

Kindness for Strangers

Gleaming cable cars ferry
Queues of tourists to the top

Of the mountain to visit
Cloud-shrouded monasteries.

Supposedly, this culture
Remains collectivistic.

Supposedly, I remain

We all climb in together
And up our shining car

Heads into misty weather.
I don’t believe it. Kindness

Has its origin in kin
And in more than one language.

I can believe inflections
Differ, like intonations,

But extensions of kindness
To non-kin conspecifics

Are—like religious beliefs,
Like prayers to our deities,

Our fears of ghosts and demons,
Our ratcheting novelties

In forms of transportation—
Not born of one tradition.

But beware of kindnesses.
What’s extended to you was

Denied to someone. The doors
Glide wide in clouds. Help me out.

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