Laura McCullough: Does Violence Resolve Violence?

Laura McCullough: Does Violence Resolve Violence?

Curve of Forgetting

He told me he should have just walked away

after sleeping with me that first time,

said, Good luck, & moved on. The anger

in his face, the way his eyes steeled.  Jesus.

He was recalling a moment he didn't act

over twenty years ago. Tonight we're bombing

Syria. A cruel man mad in power gassing people,

videos viral, children choking on their vomit.

We've known about this for years. The last

president having run on no troops, no military

intervention, the country exhausted. But this one

gets to play hero, distract from his larger incompetence.

His ratings will go up.              My husband's texts

from his apartment, the one he's left us to live in.

Postponed walking away a couple of decades,

& now it's worse.  I can't tell whose fault

anything is anymore. Responsibility easy

to assign when forgetting has thinned

the complexities, complicities. I don't know

if I love him or love the idea of love.

Does violence resolve violence? Whatever

I once knew, I seem to have forgotten.

Laura McCullough’s The Wild Night Dress, selected by Billy Collins in the Miller Williams Poetry Prize Series, was published by University of Arkansas Press, 2017. Her other books  of poems include Jersey Mercy, Black Lawrence Press, Rigger Death & Hoist Another (BLP),  Panic (winner of the Kinereth Genseler Award, Alice James Books), Speech Acts (BLP), and What Men Want (XOXOX Press). She curated two anthologies of essays on poetry,  A Sense of Regard: Essays on Poetry and Race, University of Georgia press and The Room and the World: Essays on the Poet Stephen Dunn, University of Syracuse press. Her prose and poetry have appeared widely in places such as Michigan Quarterly Review, The Southern Review, The Georgia Review, The American Poetry Review, Guernica, Pank, Gulf Coast, The Writer's Chronicle, Best American Poetry, and others.