David Rigsbee

Late Night

People with stumps and burns.
So what if one guy had no face?
It was a program dedicated to pain,
for which reason alone it was reality
TV. The amputee described how she
let herself be spread on a website.
Cries unheard since the night my brother
drilled out his brains spewed anew,
and I heard Mother howl
into the face of her young minister,
who had raced to give her comfort.
He instead found one of the mad
secrets of his religion: the savior’s
outline in the splatter, the beast’s wail
and the anonymous woman who spread
her stumps online, finally joining
the faceless man and the headless man
in freakish celebration of their blankness.
The minister, a kind man who never
aimed a dart of judgment at anyone,
sat there as evening slowly toppled
into night, as the power-wire hum
of the cicadas, mad to mate and die,
amassing in the oaks and pecan trees,
overwhelmed every reason he brought
with their stern, uninflected monotony.