Again my vow of no headlines
succumbs. Again I recoil —
we can never foresee
where despair will stake its claim. 
Night thins across the Willamette,
cloud enveloping rough-edged hills.  
Metaphor, I tell myself again,
is at once a way in and a way out.
Yet must empathy, luminous
and opaque, not be the language
of any god worth our love?
The weekend drifts in.
Zucchini bread,
Colombian pour-over lovingly tended.
I fret over the fading aralia. Surrender
to a long breath of the forest nearby. 
But there's always 
blood beneath our fingernails.
Buffalo. I plummet into story:
our failure to teach critical thinking,
emotional intelligence,
and then — with the words
basic fucking humanity
spiking my mouth — I'm snared.
Yes: I may just hate  
these minds unschooled 
in the switchbacks of life
as much as they hate
whoever they fear is coming
to steal their truths. I pray
for their enlightenment.
Curse my condescension.
Ache for their disappearance.
And only now, only
in this scarred silence,
does metaphor relent: 
ten black corpses. 
Say: pain
Say: helpless

Say: the us we can no longer disavow