Ethics

By: David Banach

Ethics is a scam a whitewash that aims
at the apportioning the shifting of blame,
when really I am responsible for everything:
the worms wriggling in the warm soil
of the flower garden I could hold them in
my hands if only I had dug in the dirt
villagers in Qixingguan driven from their land
the sad loneliness of my neighbor and the power
a kind word can have police in Iowa
looking twice at car that doesn’t belong
the fear that follows them along the dusty
broken white lines so much the deep blue
sky and the numberless stars even hidden by
clouds that I could have caressed in my mind so much it would drown you
so much that
it floods and washes away the ordinary evils
all I do to hide from it so much that I could
never make up for it.

But then I think of what it means to have a heart
an infinite will capable of holding all those oughts
what it means to be connected to so many things
gnawing the tiny lines that tie me to this world and I
feel the current of it all connecting me to this world
wanting to sweep me away flowing through me as if
I were nothing transparent permeable as the very air
I breathe I feel it finally bearing me away
into the immensity joining it finally and discharging
my debt.


David Banach is a philosopher and poet in New Hampshire, where he tends chickens, keeps bees, and watches the sky. He likes to think about Dostoevsky, Levinas, and Simone Weil and is fascinated by the way form emerges in nature and the way the human heart responds to it. You can read some of his most recent poetry in Isele Magazine, Neologism Poetry Journal, Passionfruit Review, Terse, and Amphibian Lit. He also does the Poetrycast podcast for Passengers Journal.

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