Mercy is a kind of whetstone 
that strafes across my spine,
sharpening my bones,
dulling my sense of time, 
and courage communes in silence
as you wash ashes from my eyes. 

The first time I see your kindness,
I disappear into the quiet, 
the tired stories I re-write 
are burned like incense on the altar, 
a vapor rising to the sky.

By Heidi Turner