GUILT by Pablo Piñero Stillman
is that dead dog’s collar you keep
in the drawer of unusables
along with the hardened super
glue, a remote control for channels
long cancelled & the lock
of a stolen bicycle. Guilt is circular,
yes, tattered & sturdy, comfortable
in its choking. The problem is you
remember everything. The problem is guilt
has a cuteness to it, a breathing
innocence: a time
of distended bellies, of gnawing
because new teeth hurt so damn much. You find
it over & over—while furiously looking
for your ankle brace or the spare
set of car keys—& your heart drops
at the sight of those ridiculous, perfectly
orblike blue whales, smirking
whales printed on the collar
& did I say guilt
is round? Guilt looks like it would stink
from here to the highest heaven, but it’s been
washed & again so many times
it just smells stale. It warns
that death’s face is a puppy.
You must remind yourself that those sad
eyes are just a product of evolution.
Guilt is nothing
if we don’t offer it our necks.
Guilt is a tool, it allows what walks
us to never ever let go. How
is all this power held together
by a buckle of the cheapest plastic?
Did I say guilt is a loop?