here we are again, unable to claim
many moments of relief
from the confirmable gloom, though
there was a time, before news became
ubiquitous, when it was possible
to close our eyes and hide in our rooms.
The excitement of bones found
in mass graves—not ours, the remains
of mastodons and dinosaurs—told us
something of our past. Now we see
face down in ditches
our neighbors with whom we once
broke bread, whose children played
in our yards, and everywhere
colossal denials of blame.
For the historical ache, the ache passed down
which finds its circumstance and becomes
the present ache, I offer this poem
without hope, knowing there's nothing,
not even revenge, which alleviates
a life like yours. I offer it as one
might offer his father's ashes
to the wind, a gesture
when there's nothing else to do.
Still, I must say to you:
I hate your good reasons.
I hate the hatefulness that makes you fall
in love with death, your own included.
Perhaps you're hating me now,
I who own my own house
and live in a country so muscular,
so smug, it thinks its terror is meant
only to mean well, and to protect.
Christ turned his singular cheek,
one man's holiness, another's absurdity.
Like you, the rest of us obey the sting,
the surge. I'm just speaking out loud
to cancel my silence. Consider it an old impulse,
doomed to become mere words.
The first poet probably spoke to thunder
and, for a while, believed
thunder had an ear and a choice.