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He Was Also

Updated: Oct 22, 2022

This man’s polarity reminds me

of Ted Bundy—the man

who killed women,

but saved a toddler from drowning

and volunteered

at a suicide hotline.

This man,

with his kindly hands,

knitted a scarf for his daughter;

he loved her and could not bear her shiver;

the respiratory spasms in her little lungs

rode him like guilt on wire.

“Breathe my darling” he’d say,

“Breathe, I am here.”

He held her palpitations in his palm

as if she were a nestling, fragile, jittering,

and wrapped the woollen round her

and pummelled his wife’s eyes

with knuckles stretched like lace;

he thrashed her face,

but made her feel unforgotten,

a queen supine, wet with love and pulp

like an oyster drawing from the water column.

He was also loving.

He choked his daughter with his hands,

then nursed her when wheezing

and beat her mother thin,

but fed them both full.

He was also.

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