Like Grandfather, For Instance, Or Like A Possum Living In Your Backyard

At first you treat him as a nobility –
a miraculous figure(head)

with no real office.

Then he dies.

Then you see what’s written on his hard drive.

Unforgivable things.

You miss him.

 

*

 

Letter To Dick Cheney

I remember
as a child
thinking about torture
(and I’ve understood since then that torture is just

a clarification
of reality),

and I remember proposing
(to myself
alone)
the limited susceptibility of a nerve
to abuse
(the diminishing capacity of a nerve
to feel pain)
as proof
of some basic mercy
at the foundation of the universe.
Then, today, as I lay in bed,
my chest pressed to my daughter’s back,
I hear (with my chest)
her heart beat—
how real it is,
and how separate —
how mercilessly separate.
And I think of you.

 

Photograph by Kevin Dooley

David Searcy | First Sentence
Miroslav Penkov | First Sentence