Pulse Issue 2: 2023

Mercy as the Keeper

by: Rumaisa Ahmad

A bowl slips through my fingers,

Kisses the ground as it shatters

Into a hundred thousand pieces—

An old bowl—but not mine to break.

This life was not intended as a punishment,

Not when we took the first bite

And understood what it meant to fall,

Not when we broke the bowls

And repented for those they belonged to.

Mercy outlives trivial human transgressions,

But how should we live

After clumsily bringing grief to another?

At the dawn of my execution

I could smell only sharpened metal

And the early morning air.

My neck aching tied to the stone,

I waited for the booming voice of Mercy to fall from the sky—

Overwhelm like the gracious flood of Noah,

Waited for Mercy as the Savior to come running,

Offering his exposed neck in my stead,

But there was only silence on that clear day,

The Earth kept moving, despite my cruelty.

Born guilty into this world,

The first bite of fruit still rots in man’s stomach—

Yet the sun comes to me at the dawn

of my departure and kisses these wet cheeks,

Beckons me to come back to

Live in this world, as the burden I may

Be, guilt-ridden and all—

Unforgiven and all.

That kind morning light

Could never wash these hands clean,

But beneath such a soft gaze,

When the heart stops beating,

How cruel would it be to die as your own felon

Rather than in the hands of this giving world?

Even as the rope still hangs around your neck,

The grass is still wet and green

And the warmth still envelops you.

The world remains a world with or without you,

But the executioner hesitates, drops his knife

After seeing a reflection in your eyes.

The job unfinished, the transgression remains.

He walks into the sun-softened world.

Mercy as a life well lived

Despite the travesty of human transgressions.

Rumaisa Ahmad (she/they) is a second year student of Experimental Animation.