The grief must be got at
no matter how deep you must dig
or who gets hurt any worse than they already were,
unearthed bodies, skeletons too sexy to forget,
mines no matter who laid them, all of a piece
to shake loose primal dirt, so dark
even viral media won’t touch it.
This is where false memories get mixed in,
fact-checkers be damned, there’s more than evidence,
the eyewitnesses almost saw what happened
if they hadn’t been looking the wrong way.
And so the excavators are summoned,
the sappers and the gravediggers,
the dusters of hard remains,
the men with headlights on their helmets,
even the painters scraping away and repainting
in layers over the primed images.
How far down must you drill
until hitting the first pain, or the vein
whose ore will enrich you when you own
what you don’t know and you keep digging.
Stephen Kessler is a poet, prose writer, translator, and editor. He is the author of ten books and chapbooks of original poetry, sixteen books of literary translation, and three collections of essays. His most recent books are Where Was I? (prose poems/memoirs), Need I Say More? (essays) and Forbidden Pleasures (new selected poems of Luis Cernuda, translation). He lives in Santa Cruz, California.