“All That Can Be Done”

Once in ten thousand times, a life is lost
That cuts across a column of the free.
The thousandth family grieves the lethal cost.
The State regrets; a hundred friends agree.

By ten percent, the rank and rule expand
To take revenge on Luck and laughing Fate.
They amputate Misfortune’s bloodied hand,
And halt the wheel that sped to Pluto’s gate.

Now railings run beside the winding track.
The deer that gambolled learns a pace sedate.
A toddler dances on the cliff, steps back —
and firm hands snatch her from the pull of Fate.

On Fortune’s wheel, the skull spins past again.
She laughs. “One in a hundred thousand, then?”

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