Poetry Monday: Penance

I put myself
Through Hell
Working so long
At a nightclub

I felt I 
Paid for
Past sins
I committed

I broke up fights
Protected others
Put my body
Through brutal punishment

I had crimes
Weighing on my soul
Serving my community
I would be absolved

What crime
Would require
Such a debt – 
I was 14

I indirectly
Helped my father
Beat my mother – 
I felt nothing

No sorrow
No joy
No ambivalence
No emotions

I was a
Cold, dead
Beep – 

It took years
Before I realized
Exactly what
I had done

And I accepted
My punishment – 
I think I’m still
Paying for it

I learned a lesson
I don’t watch people
Get hurt anymore
I try to stop it –

From the poetry collection Men Are Garbage.

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