The Worst

I should forgive you, who perhaps
foresaw the worst that I might do,
and forgave before I could act
From “To My Mother,” Wendell Berry

The pistol in the dark closet
The bullets in the drawer
Married in your hands,
Identical to mine but for size,
The taut skin of your youth
And my midlife crevasses.
Already, I have forgiven you,
Forgiven my own imagining
Of your pacing through rooms,
The cold steel of your father’s .357,
The dog watching, helpless
While you practiced right angles,
Pressing death against your temple,
Palette, thrusted chin. I have forgiven
The worst you could do before
You did not do it, could not do it.
Even crumbling under the weight
Of morning, your hands,
Built by my blood, reached for a phone
And called two men to come.
Forgive me. The day you were born,
I had already forgiven your reluctant relief
Handing over the gun.

9 May 2016

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