In these times
I’m fifty-eight. You’d think I’d know by now
these lessons I keep having to relearn.
The latest, loudest fact: the earth sags low
beneath the weight of idiots who mourn
an age that never was. And am I one
of them? Again, my trademark insipidity:
that life is good—and people too–deep down.
I’m Anne Frank in the annex, always pre-
annihilated, trapped in reckless faith–
“in spite of everything”–that men are good.
(Her “everything,” like mine, included death
but not the grin beneath the hangman’s hood.)
I fear my hope more than I fear my dread.
I think like children think, forever caught
in fairy tale, in prayers my mother said,
in “progress,” in “my country,” in the thought
that savagery’s a glitch, a rare malfunction.
What will it take, I wonder, to dispel
my dull naivety? My own extinction?
Or is delusion requisite to hell?