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This poem was submitted for the "Poetry for the Mind's Joy" project and is reproduced here with permission from the author. All rights reserved. Poetry for the Mind's Joy is Poet Laureate Kay Ryan's project that includes a community college poetry contest administered by the Community College Humanities Association and a lively videoconference.

"Would you give
so that others may
simply live?"

I pause. But,
ashamed of such a
break in time,
my guilty spine
guides a hand
to my breast coat
pocket.

Where my tan-leather
wallet hides
a ten dollar bill.
   Better make it twenty.
   I'd like to sleep tonight.
God knows,
(and I do too)
too well,
the score against
white males.

So, I pause.
   Better make it twenty.
Hell bent
on making Haiti's pain
my own.

Yet, for all the
twisted limbs
that surround me,
all my eyes can see
is de-inked
and re-inked
pulp.

And so,
my duty paid,
my debt released,
the wheels of my feet
click back
on their rusted track.

Anne Arundel Community College, Arnold, MD
Faculty Contact: Susan Cohen, English Department