Feelings seem like made-up things,
though I know they’re not.
I don’t understand why they lead me
around, why I can’t explain to the cop
how the pot got in my car,
how my relationship
with god resembled that
of a prisoner and firing squad
and how I felt after I was shot.
Because then, the way I felt
was feelingless. I had no further
problems with authority.
I was free from the sharp
tongue of the boot of life,
from its scuffed leather toe.
My heart broken like a green bottle
in a parking lot. My life a parking lot,
ninety-eight degrees in the shade
but there is no shade,
never even a sliver.
What if all possible
pain was only the grief of truth?
The throb lingering
only in the exit wounds,
though the entries were the ones
that couldn’t close. As if either of those
was the most real of an assortment
of realities—existing, documented,
hanging like the sentenced
under one sky’s roof.
But my feelings, well,
they had no such proof.
Copyright © 2012 Brenda Shaughnessy
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Copper Canyon Press.