Tax is the common thread:
both tax collector
bound together in a system of taxing the poor,
one in the name of government
and the other in the name of religion.
Both limit the poor
by fleecing them with tax law
yet one knows it is unjust
the other hides behind a religious righteousness
that keeps the poor poor in the name of God.
Shame on religion.
The tax collector
confesses a system he knows takes from the poor
where it hurts most
and doesn't like being part of it.
The pharisee supports a system
that Jesus turned the tables on
where temple tax does the dirty
by washing clean the sacrifice.
A parable about pride and humility,
or one that takes a subtle swipe
at a religion that has forgotten
who and what it is to love.