May breath for a dead moment cease as jerking your
head upward you hear as if in slow motion floor
collapse evenly upon floor as one hundred and ten
floors descend upon you.
May what you have made descend upon you.
May the listening ears of your victims their eyes their
enter you, and eat like acid
the bubble of rectitude that allowed you breath.
May their breath now, in eternity, be your breath.
Now, as you wished, you cannot for us
not be. May this be your single profit.
Of your rectitude at last disenthralled, you
seek the dead. Each time you enter them
they spit you out. The dead find you are not food.
Out of the great secret of morals, the imagination to enter
the skin of another, what I have made is a curse.
Frank Bidart , who lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is a winner of the Wallace Stevens Award from the American Academy of Poets. Previous poems of his that appeared in The Threepenny Review include "To the Twentieth Century" and "The Second Hour of the Night."