Stakhanovite

You!! The insidiously ungrateful guest
who turned on then attacked your host,
who treated what you’d asked for with contempt,

Who damaged our identities as the choices
we could make were ground between our pasts,
nuances and depths and caring crushed, diminished;

And blindly I replied in kind, in spades, in malice:
cold and stern, in fierce revenge I withdrew
kindness and threw you homeless on the street.

From a paradox of weakness I emulated strength:
the half-remembered sons of steel, working without sleep
in true collective effort, endurance and propaganda,

Disregarding norms to put the issue beyond doubt;
so I made sure to twist the knife of money and control –
to carve a breach, to dig for more, to build a wall;

Because I’d have you back, if only you would ask,
I made that ask impossible: I struck out in pride
and acted first, to maximise the distance and the hurt,

Leaving you adrift and me to face the fate I’d earned:
a melancholy seam no miner’s pick or drill can work
and a toxic firebreak cleared against compassion.

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