Home Forums Critique Central Poetry SOLE SURVIVOR Re: SOLE SURVIVOR



He dragged the metal
the gun barrel
across the tip of a lower left tooth. 
The left tooth was the taller of the pair. 
But not by much. 
In fact, he’d never known,
until that moment
that the two were asymmetrical.
Now, yet another distraction,
another hesitation. 
More evidence of the weakness
dragging his life to this defining moment.
The putrid stink of unnatural vapors
Their rotten eggs splashed beneath his stride
Gathered to his side in turncoat allegiance  
The first soldiers to fall once his march began
And a march it had been

He’d been decisive
He’d engineered it to perfection. 
He’d taped the windows – dotted the i’s
He’d taped the doors – crossed the t’s 
He’d listed the preparations
He’d settled the issues  
He’d been diligent
He’d been in command
He’d chosen the darkest, emptiest hour 
Yet, now, it all sat restlessly
awaiting its ultimate completion
his courage to bring that completion 
as he found himself, yet again
mired in senseless wanderings, itches and asymmetrical teeth,
more weaknesses and vacillations
an excruciating parade of dismal failures
the life he’d taken to ruin.
His life was sin enough for any man,
but he’d taken down others 
She’d been strong enough
She’d been good enough
God enough to forgive the sins of his character. 
Courageous enough to believe
her husband to be better than he’d prove to be. 
She’d searched within him
And found what she could love,
holding fast to it
as the rest of him betrayed the both of them
with shifting ethics,
crippled judgment,
and, most horrid of all
priorities devoted to craven moral vacancies
His disregard for simple decency
And he’d encouraged her self deception. 
Nurtured it. 
Of course he had.  It’d served his needs
until they’d changed. 
Then it’d allowed his escape from the life
the family
they’d built with one another. 
A temporary separation
that’d never been temporary. 
only temporary as need be
to keep things off him
and the life he was building beyond her.
Beyond all of them.
In the end, he’d sinned against her with his life,
and she’d paid for that sin with her own life. 
Her life, and the lives of their children. 
Lost forever to a moment
he should never have allowed to occur. 
A brutal moment. 
A moment when another man
the get-on-with-your-life demanded of her
had taken the whole of them as his own. 
Taking them home
in a twisted vision of family
writhing through its own existential failure. 
Bringing its own eternal unity
to the family he’d left behind
as he stumbled through a self-indulgent wasteland.
And so it was that even now
with toes slipping along a pencil through the trigger
The strength to commit himself to them. 
A small flicker of movement,
With unity at hand, and even now
Too much to give to the family he’d betrayed.
As he sweated into the chair 
Three bedrooms and two baths,
a haunted shell since hosting the drama
the screaming terrified hours
until a merciful God had finally ordered the beast to slaughter them all
sat patiently, quietly,
accepting its own fate. 
The charge set to take it as well. 
The vapors gathered to send every bit of it to hell 
It’s own head bowed
for what it had lent to the carnage
The media, gone
The TV cameras, the flood lights and the flowers. 
all finally gone.
Stray teddy bears forgotten against its dark entrance way,
a society working through its own guilt
Their collective sin of being spared such horror
It rested in silent deference, awaiting forever
He felt its embrace,
soothing him as he twitched and sweated. 
His toes curling across the #2 pencil. 
A coward,
who fought to be more than a coward. 
If for only the blessing of a split moment. 
Moment enough to bring his family together again. 
Together again in the house that they’d taken as their home. 
The rock upon which their future might’ve rested 
Christmases, Easters,
celebrations to have been hosted,
even as the children grew
and accepted their own places in a growing future.
He felt its patience,
its embrace,
he felt its approval
as he fought to set everything right
within this small slice of the story of humankind. 
To settle his debt to those he’d given to the soulless horrors
The stuff of their most terrifying nightmares,
Slipped wickedly within their last, most innocent aspiration.
To be a whole family once again
The hell of it all pulling the tears from his eyes
The rescue at hand
As he battled his own worthlessness
To finally bring everyone together again as one.

He ran his tongue over the steel,
his mind fading gently as he eased into a vapored calm. 
His legs relaxing to a full extension. 
The home he’d feared, and loved,
all in one fit of confusion and rebellious angst,
smiling gratefully with him.
Once again, the rock upon which would rest his future,
and the future of his family. 
The lifting fountain of initiation. 
The shattering orgasm of release. 
All brought to one, at long last,
within the soul, and the mind, of Man. 
And so, it is complete
From genesis, through fragmentation
to its own perfected resolution,
a solid whole within the collective that defines Man.
Always, a beginning through to an end. 
One unit.
One family. 
Together as one from forever before. 
Never not together. 
Never not one in the gathering of that which becomes Man. 
One family at home from beginning to end.