Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Presence of Absence

Having no use for my left hand,
I cut it off and toss it, a little
Meat and numerous fine bones,
To the dog lifting its leg in the alley.
And to my right hand? You may expect
That it will follow, since that
Is the way of things. One
Idiotic gesture surely leads
To another. This is the mature
Expectation, isn't it? Isn't someone's
Best friend always taking up
Cigarettes, jumping off a cliff,
Sticking his head in an oven, any
And every symbolic foolishness, and won't
Someone, when his mother turns
Her back, do just the same?
But you were wondering about the presence of absence.
You were wondering about the dog's hunger.
You were wondering about my right hand.
You were expecting me to say that it too
Must go -- so long, goodbye.
I must disappoint you. My right hand
I will keep and wave about
As I lecture you on happiness. I will keep it
To scratch the dog's ears and itch.
I will keep it for my wife's pleasure.
I will keep it because, with no other
Hand to grip the knife, I must.
I will keep it because I will not
Ask you to undo what I cannot.

--Jeff Mock, Ruthless, (Three Candles Press, 2010)

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