In the Beginning, Run

In the Beginning, Run


Ninety days in the dark   on your back   in    chains     and   you   don’t   know   where you’re   going.       I kept  picturing    the   grin   of   the  salesman    as  the sailors   loaded   us    onto  the  ship   his  teeth lit up my nightmare,    the lizard   on  his  shoulder  lept to mine     and    when   the   delirium  hit   I   would    laugh   with  him  and infect his  evil  with  my blasphemy: joy.   Incessant  weeping   laughter   would  break across  the  hold    and  this  petrified   the  devil   for  long   enough  to crack  the whip.   Quiet   sorrow  infuriates  the  criminal    who   in  that  silence  loses  track  of   where   he   ends   and   I  begin.   I was watching  his  suicide try to occupy my body,  fail,  and hobble   like   a cloaked beggar  toward  my unattainable soul.  When  we reached  land     they   sold   my   son’s   organs  right in front of me. Cut him open  and  fed  him  to  some  sickly   president   who  hates the   sun. Counted his teeth, bit into me with them, some funny love, I laughed and wept less and then more,  a living spell cast on the unconscious.  You’ve  got to   be    serious  dumb  to   eat   someone  you’ve   tortured    you’ve    got   to   want  to    be    me     to   try   this   hard       you must be starving   and   I taste  like   The  Miracles  singing  “Who’s Lovin’ You”
and  I   wonder

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Katrina vanden Heuvel
Editorial Director and Publisher, The Nation