Circling the Wagons

Sweet element, disguise,
like a partial illustration—
it is our own inviolable corruption.
Not culpability, we put that off years ago,
but a semi-tough reluctance to join in,
a conviction that our own separateness
will cleanse the unknown offenders.

It is not suitability or its opposite.
The steam engine huffs and puffs—
to whom else could we speak
but to the rolling rattle of rail cars
indifferent to their own collisions.