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Dustin Brookshire Mercy This is the poem I have to write: The poem where I tell you I'm driftwood too wet to be burned, yet want to be cleansed by fire, to burn to ash and dissolve into the ground, to become part of many. The poem where I confess of tears: my tears and his tears, each weigh the same. His tears cause my tears. My tears dampen the page. Our tears make this poem flow like river waters over its bank. How therapeutic. You wonder: which, the tears or the poem? The poem where I ask you in good faith to believe me when I say I carry guilt but can't tell you why or how. I won't even give you a metaphor to explain. Dear reader, you must trust me. I can't give you the three letters, only the three words I gave him. The poem where I tell you I am sorry is neither medicine nor magic, simply the mouth remembering childhood, providing the blessing of one's soul, an admittance of I have done wrong, and all I can do is offer these words. This poem is where I have buried my secret. I see it in every letter. He will see it every few lines. I dig deeper with each line, leaving a bit of pain with each line break, hoping with the final period the pain will end.

Dustin Brookshire is a poet and activist. In 2008, Dustin founded Limp Wrist and Quarrel. In 2009, he launched Project Verse, the self-proclaimed Project Runway of the poetry world. He has been featured at poetry readings in Atlanta as well as Savannah, and his work has been published in numerous online magazines as well as in Atlanta's DAVID magazine. Besides writing poetry and 'cooking up' poetry projects, Dustin enjoys serving on the Atlanta Queer Literary Festival Committee, and keeping elected officials on their toes.

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