Mercy for the boy behind the counter
          who accepts the blue-tinged twenty

          for the fingers that dial
          this unwarranted destiny

Mercy for the cop
          who would not kneel
          in solidarity
          now bending his knee
          to choke back breath

Mercy for the nine minutes
          it takes to crush the neck
          of a Black man to breathlessness

          for the dying man himself
          whose last words are a prayer
          to the one who brought him
          into this life

Mercy for her
          already two years dead
          unable to cradle her boy
          or kiss his cheek
          pressed to the street
          still warm
          with sunlight’s vanishing

Mercy for neon’s indifferent buzz

          for spring’s gloaming
          that casts the day’s last
          gold without favor

          as if there is truth
          in the myth of equity

          as if all falls to each of us
          in equal measure