Poetry Daily: http://www.poems.com/

Necessity Defense of Institutional Memory


So the free may remain free

     say the nightmare is
     the dream

so we are preserved

     he who believes takes a life

so a life may be saved

     the girl becomes an object

so the greatest devastation occurs

     let go her fingers    their slim cleave

so I may be replaced
by a machine    which in its violence    behaves
more like me

     the longer you live    the more these lies
     come alive

so the past splits in two:

     one stays in the past and dies

one past shapeshifts    walks with you.


Camille Rankine

Tin House

Volume 14, Number 3 2013


To view this poem online, visit the Poetry Daily archive at http://www.poems.com/archive.php
View a large-print version of this poem