Penance

When they skinned me alive,
I was afraid, very afraid.
For I knew my crimes were not merely skin-deep.
And when they pelted me with stones,
A chill crept into my heart.
For I knew I could not atone my sins with broken bones.
But when they reached deep inside
And pulled out that one tiny shard to crush,
A sliver of hope, that sustained my life,
I gave a weak laugh, giddy with relief.
For there could be no more;
The Lords of Karma had crossed that line.
There would be no more punishment
Without violating the very laws that they held so sacred.
I reached out and took it back;
That tiny shard of an already broken whole.
“No more punishment”, I repeated to myself,
A statement and a promise at the same time,
For I had reached, at last, the end of my penance.

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