Sunday, March 18, 2012


On my drive home in the downpour
there was a Syrian boy on the radio
telling of his torture—
electrocuted, beaten with hanks of rope,
one toenail removed with pliers.

There is a point, they say
when the body adjusts to a level of pain
and interrogators must step up the severity
to obtain further reactions.
It is the same with commuters,
grown so accustomed now
to hearing of water-boardings, beatings,
renditions, strippings
they barely register.

What to make of those of us unbruised,
sleeping easily, with such patience
for the torsions of human agency,
accepting them as we do
a spate of bad weather? Who abide?

What to make of myself,
pausing at the light
with the rain running silvered chains
over the windshield, then quietly
making my turn, the way
I have been taught?


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