Of a bunch of thugs, you’ve seen them—two boys
wrestling on the ground, says Rilke, “like some dumb animal
set upon by bees.”
They suffer. And to know is enough. We exhaust ourselves
with each other. “Like it was making him mad,” says the officer,
“that I’m shooting at him.”
It’s the same thing, saying something different.
How the paper calls it
“animal-on-animal hate,” or the way the docent describes Piero de Cosimo’s painting
of a man pulling a bear off a lion eating another bear “justice,” or what the woman
at the checkout counter says to me, “the devil is busy, the devil is always busy.”
It is ourselves not listening, while what’s heard goes on, calling
them home for dinner, another boy, all those thugs.
How can we forget?
“I’ve had my dead, and I’ve let them go,” says Rilke. So consoled,
the poet, so at home. Like that.
This poem was a finalist for our 2016 Auburn Witness Poetry Prize Honoring Jake Adam York. Learn more about the contest here.
JOSHUA KRYAHis the author of two collections of poetry, We Are Starved and Glean. He received his MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and his PhD from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he was a Black Mountain Fellow in poetry. e recipient of an NEA creative writing fellowship in 2013, he has been the Thornton Writer-in-Residence at Lynchburg College and the Summer Poet in Residence at the University of Mississippi. His awards include a Short- Term Research Fellowship from the New York Public Library, The Southeast Review’s Gearhart Poetry Award, and the Third Coast Poetry Prize. Poems have appeared in The American Poetry Review, The Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, and elsewhere. He currently lives in St. Louis, Missouri, and teaches at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.