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.