One toxin turns to another, one apple
to the seeds that bite the earth.
A vague distemper casts its shadow
over last years’ leaves, and I am listening
to a friend. All that anger over this
and that and the lunch we are having,
the smell of beer on him stronger earlier
and often, his voice scarred and ever lower.
Some fires eat their fire and still they burn.
Still the hand feels the suicide capsule
in its wallet, and the death that comes not
by guilt or grief, not even rage. But shame.
It’s what we cannot talk of, my friend and I,
what cannot be absolved. Today, I said,
some CEO received the kind of indictment
that drives a poor man’s limo into a wall.
A place like that has no other side,
no ghost to stumble from the wreck of brick.
No name to take down, child to console.
When a car hits, the body just keeps moving.
And that’s the part that kills, the body moving
beyond whatever last humiliation.
Beyond the rancor and the glass and core
disgrace. The coming stillness of the world.
Bruce Bond is the author of twenty-three books including, most recently, Immanent Distance: Poetry and the Metaphysics of the Near at Hand (U of MI, 2015), Black Anthem (Tampa Review Prize, U of Tampa, 2016), Gold Bee (Helen C. Smith Award, Crab Orchard Award, SIU Press, 2016), Sacrum (Four Way, 2017), Blackout Starlight: New and Selected Poems 1997-2015 (L.E. Phillabaum Award, LSU, 2017), Rise and Fall of the Lesser Sun Gods (Elixir Book Prize, Elixir Press, 2018), Dear Reader (Free Verse Editions, 2018), and Frankenstein’s Children (Lost Horse, 2018). Presently he is a Regents Professor at the University of North Texas.