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The Cold Within

Six humans trapped by happenstance,
in black and bitter cold.
Each one possessed a stick of wood,
Or so the story's told.

Their dying fire in need of logs,
The first man held his back,
For on the faces around the fire
He noticed one was black.

The next man, looking across the way,
Saw one not of his church,
And couldn't bring himself to give
The fire his stick of birch.

The third man sat in tattered clothes
He gave his coat a hitch.
Why should he put his log to use
To warm the idle rich.

The rich man just sat back and thought
Of the wealth he had in store.
And how to keep what he had earned
From the lazy, shiftless poor.

The black man's face
bespoke revenge,
As the fire passed from sight;
For all he saw in his stick of wood
Was a chance to spite the white.

The last man of this forlorn group
Did naught except for gain,
Giving only to those who gave
Was how he played the game.

Their logs held tight
In death's still hands
Was proof of human sin.
They didn't die from the cold without;
They died from the cold within.

Zoe Rankin-Letter's From Anna