On the Occasion of a Bombing,
I Just Can’t Bring Myself to Endorse Murder

If you tell the world that the bad men
are still men, that somewhere in their bodies
spins the same longing that I have felt,
and you, the world will close itself around you.
Not like arms, not an embrace, but like a book
slamming shut, two thousand pages
of condemnation pressing you
like a dried flower, flattening your voice into
typeface, then slowly scrawled ink, then
pencil, then scattered eraser rubbings
that it will brush onto the floor with a large
and angry hand. This is what matters now:
strong hands. Carry a bigger stick but
carrying isn’t really enough. It’s how hard you
hurl it, how many are crushed under
the enormous weight of its insecurity. Its fear.
I have enemies. Men have burgled years
from my life and kept their pristine
bodies and I could wield a world against them, I could
monster them in my mind and the minds
of many others but instead, I mourn for the kindling
inside them that might have flamed into a life
that didn’t scorch everything that came
too close. I see men that maybe,
in a world that wasn’t all gasoline and pyromania,
could have just been warm.

For money, Krista Cox is a paralegal. For joy, she’s an associate poetry editor at Stirring: A Literary Collection and Pittsburgh Poetry Review, and Program Director of Lit Literary Collective, a nonprofit serving her local literary community. Her poetry has appeared in Columbia JournalRappahannock ReviewThe Humanist, and elsewhere.