Paul Guest

If Nothing Else This Poem

            for Heather Heyer


Has in it no cretinous Nazis, no lead slurry

thickening the water with death, so

that is these days a plus. In this line,

no ancient and fragile biome has been

hounded into collapse. I think.

This is a poem, so don’t come here

searching for journalism. I will

record the end of everything I can see.

This sort of tolerable meal. The rain

that has pestered the earth all day long.

The distant lament of a siren.

Yes, something somewhere is

burning down. You will lose

everything. Some day. This is not news.

My hands ache like there

is no blood in them. Just cement.

Bad faith. The state of Ohio,

which I have sped through,

in the darkness breaking law after law.

This weekend a woman died

when a coward ran her down

in the street like nothing bad was ahead.

Would happen in that light.

I think of that morning:

how it began like any other.

I think I will sleep well

tonight:  I’m tired. My eyes are worn out.

In my heart, inside it,

I am capable of every betrayal.

I am sorry the world is not better

than it is. I apologize

for this poem. These words

are not a prayer. Are not even an excuse.



“If Nothing Else This Poem” is from Because Everything is Terrible (Diode Editions, 2018).