What is "mercy"?
Submit by 4/17 to Sonora Review's "MERCY" contest
I am a big fan of the beautiful minds behind Sonora Review, and the literary magazine has a stellar lineup of guest judges for the 2023’s themed contest. Consider submitting now/before April 17th.
Briefly, I’ll add that the theme brings me back to the panel I moderated for the Tucson Festival of Books— poets Allison Adelle Hedge Coke & Sophia Terazawa read from their work, asking the audience members to radically reimagine what it means to be merciful to the communities we belong to, both small and large. I will never forget Sophia breaking out into song mid-thought, Allison's litany of compassion, and the two of them connecting over Marvin Gaye. Honest love requires honesty, and honesty a reckoning, something neither of them backed away from in a situation where optimistic performativity often holds sway (it was a “festival,” after all!)
I’m still tinkering with my thoughts, but I think the underlying idea is that to be merciful you need to do more than look the other way— to forgive x, you need to sit with the hurt x has caused, and to understand that pain in connection with the hurt you have also caused, and to continue moving forward with as much compassion for both x and yourself as you can muster. The earth is dying for us to have this kind of mercy.