LITTLE OATHS AND APOLOGIES
By the time you heard it again,
a therapy dog foiled the bank heist,
the old covered bridge was washed out in the storm,
the dictator was almost overthrown,
and Tom, he almost survived.
The man who slapped his child
came close to saying sorry.
Sorry, you can say it in just about
any situation and feel practically absolved,
better about how you’ve laboured in the yard,
in a thunderstorm, yanking out ivy
that will grow back again next year.
Understand that these are Mother Nature’s intentions:
listen to the sizzle of rain on the blacktop,
bacon as it weeps in cast iron,
radio static, television applause.
For whatever it was they told you, forgive them,
because it just isn’t true—
mistakes were made, oversights and misunderstandings
Thank you for holding
your (desperate) call (for help) is being transferred and will be taken
in the order in which it was received by the next available representative
But he did complain about the back of the baby’s head,
about how it was blocking his view of her breast,
and the Cutlass Supreme really did fly
across the river and antiquated ruins.
And the weeks progressed, coupons
expired, milk spoiled in the dead of night—
substantiated, confirmed, corroded, ineffable,
and unspeakably, beautifully sorry.
Cindy King's most recent publications include poems in Callaloo, North American Review, African American Review, American Literary Review, jubilat, New American Writing, TriQuarterly, Black Bird, River Styx, Cimarron, Black Warrior, Barrow Street, Folio, Cincinnati Review, and elsewhere. She is also thrilled that her work appears in Nasty Women Poets: An Unapologetic Anthology of Subversive Verse! You can hear her online on American Weekend, a production of National Public Radio, at weekendamerica.publicradio.org, rhinopoetry.org, and at cortlandreview.com.