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The Epistemology of Gentleness

       —for R

When you’re in love with someone

whose father has committed suicide, you demand

that the world be gentle with her now.

The world, of course, will not listen.

Still you go through the motions—smile to her

assure her of the small, human ways the world

will bend softly, now that you have set it straight.

And suddenly, to spite you, suicide shows up

everywhere. No story is safe, and people

these days will kill themselves over anything:

the home-team loss, stalled traffic, sappy love songs

overplayed on the radio. You find yourself turning

the conversations, the channels, storming out together

midway through movies. At the rental store, hand in hand,

you learn to predict nooses and medicine cabinets,

suicidal tendencies coded in DVD descriptions.

And you lie: The reviews got this one all wrong—or

—I’ve seen this one, darling. It would put us both to sleep.

from Revising the StormFind it in the library

Copyright © BOA Editions, Ltd 2014
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of BOA Editions LTD.

Published in Geffrey Davis Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.