Plea to the Milkweed Bugs

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As I gaze at you, the flashback begins
The heart-wrenching, insignificant image
Soon drowns my mind in its unforgiving skin.

Seventh grade, whimsical age
A science experiment, gone horribly wrong?
You - we had to raise and document you
In our natural habitat of a plastic world
Not that you would be bothered,
Since you were altered just as well
To live off sunflower seeds for simple keeping.
I was given a pair that never multiplied,
Yet life burst into bloom for the other groups,
Success in numbers where reality was left sleeping.

Once we were finished, one question remained
How to dispose of, how to toss these lives away?
You fragile, trivial mysteries!
Given two options, but so disillusioned
Genial, humane, righteous euthanasia
To freeze until frost inhibited life
Or to, horror of horrors, let them go free
And face the wrath and damage unleashed
When the little milkweed bugs ruined the earth
With their mildly altered genes.

The cunning teacher used scornful science, my most cherished course!
In order to turn them against all I could ever want.
The cold chemical words, the ultimate toxic force...
Life would be dangerous, death is vindicated!?
Compassion help these capricious children!

The voting day arrived, how painful this memory
My guilty subconscious tightens its grip
Of course, his option first, using peer pressure to warp
And all hands issued forth, some humble, some high
Then, for propriety, the second option called nigh,
Life and liberty for the sinless?
Only one hand - mine.
Nothing heroic, no gallantry
For the fate was resigned,
My meek hand meant nothing, merely a sign
Why did I stay quiet? Why not stand up!?
Here's the 20/20 hindsight wishing me blind.
Regret calls to me, I could have done something.
Said something.
Cried something!
But I apologize, for them and for me.
We all have our fault here, no matter what side.

Every year, another group passes through that class.
Another group completes that experiment
Another group has the final vote
I just hope one of those kids is braver than I.

There's no proper atonement,
No fitting justification for my inaction
But when I see you here,
In my home, on my desk of all places
I hope that maybe you were saved
By a person strong and gracious
A person who could cast off fear and doubt
A hero who stood up for mercy against the defiantly cold.
And although I know this person is not me, please,
Forgive me.





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