Candy Gourlay The 2River View, 7.3 (Spring 2003)
Pieces of Agony

Reason pays attention with one ear.
Small voices want to speak
with thick lips; want to plead, like men
on death row, for their lives.
They pilfer strength from weary sinew
I am so sorry. Please believe me.
It was never my intention to cause pain,

emerges stinking like yesterday's vomit
on a road trip. Crawls then, slowly
off misery's face, as if it is a clot
surfacing from treachery's scab.
Sorry is something you say when you
accidentally kick a dog, or knock a bucket,

Sitting in silence, an imbecile urinating
in shame's underwear, I think, Yes,
it’s what you say if you forget a name,
or step on someone’s shoe.

Onion skins of complexity carve
letters into wooden air between us.
It wants to write itself into meat of memory.
What is a word? Frailty’s use of language
becomes a demonstration of emotion,
a piece of agony waiting for rain to fall,
to bleed darkness down windowpanes.

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