Saturday, May 26, 2012

butchers' hands, gentle souls

"You're not as bad as they say,"
she told me, only half-jokingly,

as I cupped her cheek with my hand.
We were on my bed. It was autumn,

not yet dark. "What does that mean?"
There exist separate worlds where

I love with my hands and sometimes
watch men die. I am good with blood

and the right words now and then
when she is upset. I've got a few

useful qualities, and one of them
is that I rarely react to violence.

Instead I watch: The rising
of her hands on her chest,

the limbs draped lifelessly
over a fleeing motorcycle,

the puzzlement on her face
as she overpacks. Sometimes

she looks up for me, to see that
I'm still there, checking in like sonar,

and sometimes I'm miles and lives away,
watching with the dread and wonderment

of some ancient faith while history
vomits up blood on the sidewalk in front of me.

Later, I knock on the apartment door of a killer,
or she knocks a little softly on mine,

dressed for the night and holding a bottle of wine,
somewhere I'm not as bad as they say.