The adequate response is system failure. Should we all come with minute digital
clocks inscribed on our forearms (black wires as bats from our shoulders), should
we all come with high clearance code names. Dark Light. Pilot Fish. Operation
Elegant Lady. Run black ops smuggling chemicals across the border to flood the
organs of our loved ones with alkaloids & anti-metabolites.
Preparation is more important than once thought. Now, we line our ingredients on
the counter & preheat the oven. We plan meals even poisoned bodies will digest.
come night, we remove the men that clothe us to send up prayers like
Success comes cheap these days but the dollar is down & our debt comes from a
devaluation of the soul. It’s funny but not laughable. We’ve been told. If a man
pours water up your nostrils you may doubt his word but not his preparation. And
so to cheat a polygraph, bite your tongue pulpy during control questions. Run
multiplication tables. And remember all young men come equipped with blueprints.
So say our fathers all.
(There are agents among us who conceal themselves with tattoos of hawks, maps
documenting their points of origin jailing their chests. I once saw a man shroud
himself with destruction: the cigarette burn, the cross-cut, the mirror & razor.
Others who invent a life from the hot iron, the bullet stray
Or. The adequate response is production in any & all forms. As always, our parents
were nearly correct. It matters, yes, that we prepare for some thing but not one
thing. My own mother for example has judiciously prepared for retirement, my
father for the surgical theatre, & no one I know for death. Cold War technicians put
the double locks farther apart than a man’s wingspan—this was their preparation.
The bunkered soldiers, stripped of homeland access & what news there was or ever
would be coming from a red phone, wore unpatchable holes in their dress whites &
returned at night
with dirt in their shoes.
You yourself could stock a
walk-in freezer in a matter of days.
The surgeon with his nine fingers & the pocked nurse made a pact with a mutual
accomplice. When she speaks, I lose focus, thinking No one loses a digit to rugby.
When administering an I.V. she’s two centimeters north, and yes we keenest
observers see fruition in his operations. Still, there may be something sinister in the
saline. There may be a pressing need on one end of the needle or the other. Or these
may be directives. These may
be further modes of preparation.
The questions, year by year, get more interesting but less purposeful. Europe seems
farther & farther away. The shores of the city erode by inches. To save her, I would starve a
man boneless, attach electrodes, invoke rendition & stand him barefoot in blue ice.