Back in my mortal days, when they did they would say
I was a sweet-looking child, so very many years ago.
I don’t appear in mirrors now;
I wouldn’t know if that sweetness persists.
If you saw me, a scrawny child of indeterminate gender,
unkempt, ill-clothed, filthy like a refugee,
would you wish me gone, wish me well, feel terror?
You see such children on the streets. I do.
Refugees from domestic wars are a secret no one keeps.
When I take one, I feel a kind of blessing, a kindred irony.
I don’t turn them.
Damnation is not for me a means of making friends.
I feel them, smell them, make an altar of my senses.
A sacred feast of sacrificial lamb’s blood
ought to require deep honor, respect.
I do befriend them, to give them that last memory
of innocent love.
We walk together to some secret place, a shared adventure.
If it is their place, they enjoy the ritual of inviting me in
to their sanctum.
I listen to woes and dreams that I honestly bond with.
I give what I am able, take what little treasure they possess.
There are too many people this world regrets.
Too many extras that won’t be missed, whose destruction
was never in doubt.
My kind can only cull a few.
People, though, you are clever.
You find ways, devise games
to destroy and self-destruct at all gradations of cruelty.
Is the monster in the demon or the man set free
of mortal restraint?
Or, does mortality constrain?
How large a body count can one mortal lifespan support?
Can we include those who are not directly killed,
but slow poisoned by soul-burning hatred?