Taste the Fire

Close your eyes and bite down
into your lip. Bite deeply,
carefully, taste the wound's
salt agony with love: This is your brother.
This is the tide that rises
ceaselessly in the mouths
of nameless detainees who refuse to repent
of their poverty. This is your sister.
This is the river that flows
continuously from the beginning
of the memory of pain.
Taste the fire: we pass it on, welt
for welt, bruise for bruise,
till the smallest child has received the mark
of the innoculation. Give the boy
his own gun. Give the girl
her own mirror. Now
try to feel any pain but your own.