GUILT by Pablo Piñero Stillman

/ / Issue 20

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?