For Lucas, who died, and his brother Christopher (ii)

For Lucas, who died, and his brother Christopher (ii)

“What started out as a mild flogging spun out of control
into something much more violent.”
– D. Garramone, defense lawyer

In following the news, reported as gospel,
I fold a brown electrical cord in half and flog myself
just once, to know the welt it leaves. It rends a space
in me so cold and void I cannot breathe. All feeling ceased.
I return white-blind, doubled-over, my tongue raw
and bloodied from unconscious gnawing, reeling,
the distorted shape of your names a funeral dirge.
Christ have mercy. An old incantation I cling to, repeat
until I can’t speak, whisper of God hovering
over the faceless boards of this tomb my body is
laid out in, third floor, rush hour rushing headlong down below.
A reading lamp. Muted drapes. A barren crucifix on the wall.
No one will know what transpired here, what faith sustained
or lost, what sin crept in the corners, smelling blood.

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