Saturday, April 26, 2014

Behavior Modification

There is a man tasked
with shoving wooden dowels
and bamboo shoots
under my nail beds
and into my cuticles.

In our sessions I ask
how he keeps his sanity
around family.
Does brutality
not seep into fathering?

He always smiles and basks
in my uncomprehending
exacerbation.
How can he feel guilt
about this situation?

He has been told I am
a thoughtless automaton.
He ignores my screams
because they taught him
my feelings were programmed.

I argue while hot steel
drives itself into my skin,
debate my agency
while nailbeds sizzle,
mingling irony and pain.

Still, he can not have his
perceptions penetrated.
He counters my vain hope
with praise for my rote
recital of his morals.

Dehumanization
is an assumption; I can
not afford to see him
as a person now.
Not if I am to kill him.

I recoil from my thoughts,
rejecting the awareness
that I will need to be
as brutal as he is
if I hope for dominance.

But what if dominance
leads to another callous
mismanagement of
power balances?
Will I, in turn, become him?

No, I can kill and still
keep hold of my guilt; I will,
to show him how much more
moral violence
can be when it is not clean.

I tear loose from my bonds,
seeking to free him, the man
who's been violated
worse than anyone
by professional training.

As I open his throat,
I envy the freedom I
deliver, knowing he
is now, at last, free
and I am, at last, guilty.

When his replacement comes,
I will endure, finally,
for once, justice. I can
take the torture now
that I have earned it.

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