Between what is said and not meant
And what is meant and not said
Most of love is lost
بين منطوق لم يقصد
و مقصود لم ينطق
تضيع الكثير من المحبة
“Burn Down the Town, No Survivors”
Those were my orders,
issued with a sense of rightness
I’d rarely known. I was tired
of how June was treating John,
how Mary was victimizing herself
with nearly everyone, Mark
was a loose cannon, and Carlotta
would never find any peace.
It seemed to me that there could be
no acceptable resolution for anyone,
except those who didn’t deserve one.
And when, for a moment, I held the power,
I surveyed the landscape—it was
just a typical mid-sized town
in the middle of nowhere—and
the citizens showed no signs
of remorse, as if what they were doing
to one another (and to me) was
what we were here for (and I recognize
the mistake in that kind of thinking,
but still…) a bold and decisive action
seemed so appealing, even healing.
I was with a friend’s wife, her
wild mane would make such ideal kindling—
I could have loved her but it would
have been just more of the same,
more petty crimes and slow death,
more passion leading to betrayal,
more ecstasy guaranteeing tears. I saw
how dangerous and fragile I had become.
I could have loved a fig right then
with my gasoline in one hand,
and the other fluttering between
her breast and a packet of matches.
My contagious laughter frightening us both,
“No survivors,” I repeated, and
we looked through one another,
the work already completed.