Reciprocal

Take any number.
Let’s say it’s two.
Make it a fraction.
Draw a line above it.
Put a one upon the line.
Now we’ve got one half.

Set another two there.
Multiply it by the half.
They’re reciprocals:
One over two, two over one.

Reciprocals, when multiplied
Always bring the same result:
It’s always one and the same.

Like violence.

That original integer never matters.
Make it one, or thirty, or thirty million.
Flip it with one to gets its reciprocal
And multiply.
It’s always one and the same.

Like violence.

Violence initiated:
Violence returned.
It’s always one and the same.
Reciprocal. 

The bomb erupting on the city street,
The bomb descending from the fighter jet,
The bomb concealed beneath the desert road,
The bomb still lurking in the farmer’s field:
It’s always one and the same.
Reciprocal.

The gun which wavers in the robber’s fist,
The gun which rises from an agent’s holster,
The gun which nestles in the soldier’s shoulder,
The gun which sprays its magazine in wild, mad abandon:
When bullets strike,
It’s always one and the same.
Reciprocal.

Raising children, there was something that I learned
When they both came crying, saying,
“He started it!” “She hit me first!”
It’s not OK to hit, and I don’t care who hit who first.
You don’t hit first; you don’t hit back.
It’s always one and the same.
Reciprocal.

Sadly, there’s a number which is greater far
Than one.
It’s the count of funerals,
The toll of death,
The multitude of mourners.
These reciprocals have a way of multiplying
Which has nought to do with math, yet
It’s always one and the same.
Reciprocal.

Violence.
It’s always one and the same.
Reciprocal. 

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