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  • Michael Barnes

Giving Credit

Give people credit

in your privacy.

No need to tell

like announcing your wish

as you throw coins

into a well.

Keep it in your pocket.

Flip that token in your mind

to the kid that you hate

at the arcade,

for all his vitality,

his sincere energy,

and his viscous winning shouts,

the braggery and obnoxious touts.


You give him the coin because

who knows what secret anguish he escapes,

The glass in soil through which he toes

to arrive at a home, all dark and alone.


And give it to him,

if for no other reason,

so that he can keep playing

his games, and you can keep playing yours.