Paul tried to wash
the imperialism out of his hands.

He had the wrong soap.

His hands still desired to hold a gun
and force his will on someone.

To force their language
out of them.

And their history.

Paul knew his hands
wanted to pin the phrase first class

on his own chest
and the phrase second class

upon those people he conquered.

He doubted Aristotle or Descartes
would approve

but was sure the Pope
and other Judeo-Christian leaders would.

Paul remembered reading Gilgamesh
and how the difference between

civilized and uncivilized peoples

was the ability to brew beer.
He did not know how to brew beer himself.

The corner store
sold his favorite craft beer.

He walked to that store and purchased a four pack
since that was how the craft beer was packaged.

Paul noticed the chilled beer bottle

enclosed by his hand
muted his hand’s desire for imperialism.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

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