Poetry

I As In Justice

A new poem by Mary Jo Bang

by
• 231 words

Just this: Consider that you are here and there
Is a bar or six at the window and you are dying
To escape. And on the television
The operatic

Which is sometimes called the nightly news.
In between cuts of carnage, the click
Catches and claims the marzipan
Blue behind it. A hand unzips the blue,

And reaches through and strokes the cat,
Calico, old, and tending to fat.
You know this thin scene
Is lit by the heedless light at the end

Of a harrowed day. Curiosity and hunger
Give rise to wanderlust. Then back
To the program: “If you look at the brain…”
Not everyone agrees but it’s clear

There is an immense power in uncertainty.
There is that story that goes like this:
You were a crime you didn’t know had been committed.
And it’s that not knowing, the sine qua non

Of uncertainty, that holds the person in
Place. I can’t tell you how to think
Of it but for some it’s seen
As an overambitious stranglehold.

Think garrote at the neck. And then think
Of how silly it sounds
To say afterwards, “I was angry,”
When what you might have said was,

“Surely what I wish for you can’t be worse
Than what fate has in store.”