mutatis mutandis

she was just
an infant. a girl child.
she was born wrong, cat-mouthed,
with a hole in her throat
that didn’t stop her from
suckling and growing
stronger every day. the fact that
she continued to live
was the insult
added to the injury
of her birth.

her little ills
could easily have been fixed
given time for her mother
to walk miles and miles
to the nearest hospital,
and somehow scrounging
the money to pay for the operation,
since no one else
could or would
see their way clear
to help the babe.

but up in the mountains
the hill folk had a tradition:
a mutie child was not suffered
to live. no matter how minor,
any genetic flaw must
be eliminated, lest it
breed more.

so she died, and her grave
dug up old secrets
that were not better
left buried. all the village
tried to hide it, sweep it
under the rug and thus
they were made an example
of a new definition
of justice.

thousands of other
little backwoods towns
scattered across these mountains
also will learn, mutatis mutandis,
that muties are no longer
to be drowned like kittens
or strangled like rats.
their day will come,
let no one deny them
the chance to prove
the superstitions wrong.

Published by

R. Brookes McKenzie

what fresh hell is this

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