The Way We Treat Them

Dorothea Lasky
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We make the elderly into prisoners
Giving them a white suit
To be transported from one place to another
Discriminating because of background
Discriminating because of cancer
Unbearably hard
Unbearably cruel
The moon

You think I haven’t seen
But I too have carried that card
From the admissions department
After a whole life you survived
Neon rainbow streak of pink neon green
Bright yellow streaked in a diagonal
On the face of the acorn
The tiny seeds which are the enemy of light

The way we see them is a measure
Of what soul we have
I’ll go so far as to say we have none
Now seeing what I’ve seen
And the ways in which
We shutter the orange acorn
And the ways in which
We take the very painted hand to the butcher

People don’t live until the end to be healthy
But you can’t even pay someone to hug you
You can’t pay someone to love you
The double-cheeked cat
Please what kind of weather
We shut the doors and give little plates
We ask them to pay us, the indefinable orange
Before we let them leave

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