Each month I get a stack of magazines in my office mail: Poets &
Writers, Poetry— but lately, a catalog for Infectious Disease Control?
Who got me on that mailing list and why? I thumb through pages of colored
latex gloves, swabs and antiseptics, catheters inspiring unease. Control’s
anxiety’s dark twin, sibling to that rebellious sister who slips out the window
to smoke on the roof, who skips school to fuck a boy (the briefest bliss). Control’s
the sting of a belt, staccato laid on the flesh of my cousin’s back
while his mother cried He’s only a boy, stop, please! Control
is this same boy thirty years later, prodigal returned from the big city
to attend the father on his deathbed, about to wheeze his last. Who controls
the wind or rain, water that turns from blue to limpid against
the sandbar’s edge, almost clear as remission? Nothing to hold
here that instinct hasn’t first instructed: an owl flies by with a shrew
in its claws; and beneath, worms tunnel in the soil oblivious to our plotting.