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Fall 2019: Collective Night

Collective Night

Seeking some closure

if not some cleansing

of what meta-physicians call the soul—

Some praying, 

some forgetting, 

some sensing 

the stab of conscience—

this knife becomes dull from overuse.

Nobody sharpens

or hones the edges.

I am no exception. 

We squeeze our eyes tightly shut

just before seeing the face of our victim.

Begin enumerating our many mistakes.

We imagine others. 

Torn hose.

Scarred skin.

Drained Trust accounts.

Spent cartridges. 

Worn brakes.

A wounded doe.

A Mother asking, when?

We sadly discern—

what little we can—

what moon-light whitens

with a sweeping scan. 

—J.T. Whitehead

J.T. WHITEHEAD ’87 earned a JD and an MA in philosophy and his poems and short stories have appeared in over 100 publications. The Table of the Elements was nominated for the National Book Award, and a poem from that book—“Neon”—was reprinted in WM Winter 2016.