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Absent from the Body

The officer is kneeling on a man’s neck
with the full weight of functional eardrums.
When the audience begs for mercy,
when he knows it is thoroughly engrossed,
he shifts his weight a little, for effect,
makes eye contact and holds it—
what command he displays
of this inheritance.
Note the capacity for illusion,
how it seems
he sees the girl with the cell phone.
In truth though,
he’s lost in thought, wondering
with all the sickness in the air,
if wintering in Windermere
is the thing to do this year.

And nothing less than that failure of faith
could move him to linger so long
at this fleshly altar —
so profound was his contrition,
he could not rise
until he had made sacrifice.
He makes a balance beam
of panicked blood,
demands a silent desecration,
but put a man on his face
before God long enough,
and he is bound to cry out
for his maker.


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