Portrait, Guilt Obscured by Fog
Ruth Baumann


Picture a man in a field.
Make the field an alley, make the alley
the small hallway to endless basements.
When he looks up at you his eyes will boil over.

I am no closer to this than you, reader.


He holds rage close as a wire.

He sharpens a stick on the side of the house.
What for you ask.
Just in case he says.

He is a child. You are a child. You/ I. Picture his parents.
No, don't picture his parents.

Disremember him finding his mother's corpse.


Memory I want to talk to you.
I am not happy with your performance.
You have this way of shaping things & it's got to stop.

Years ago I went to a motel to die.
I don't know why some people find doors & others
not others. The head its own salve, memory,
its own .22.

Memory what must be nobody's fault is nobody's fault,
how many times do I have to tell you that. It's like
I'm not listening.