Sunday, October 26, 2014

2014.10.26 How Mercy Happens

The poet, perhaps, says it best. Would you do this kind of thing for someone you loved, or just for a pigeon?  For some this act would seem gruesome, but I shed a tear for the gentle mercy in the gesture, coupled with this husband’s immediate and heroic act—without thought or delay—on behalf of his wife’s ease. Many would have spirited her away with some natural law explanation, as any rational  person would do. Am I sentimental, or is there a powerful depth to this love poem—a kiss of divinity breaking into quotidian routines?


GRAND AVENUE
        by Ron Koertge

My wife and I were jogging, like we do every morning. Down Mission, left
at Trader Joe's, then up Grand Avenue and past the stately houses we will
never be able to afford. We'd just turned the corner by Senior Fish, scattering
a flock of pigeons strutting their stuff. One of them took off late, veered
right into the path of a silver Lexus, then lay against the curb beating his
one good wing like he was trying to put out a fire. My wife asked me to, for
God's sake, do something, so I turned the delicate head clockwise until I
heard a click. Then darkness poured out of the small safe of his body. That
is when I realized I used to merely love my wife. Now I would kill for her.


Mercy is a piteous word, really. So many eschew pity, as if it were a sin to need pity, to be pity-full. But Mercy comes from old French, merci—as in thank you. Oh, thank you.