"I didn't think of it as killing them," the executioner
from the late eighteenth century said to Charlie Rose,
still wearing a hood, his axe resting on the wood table
I've assumed is oak. "I don't know how to put this:
it's as if I loved them in the moment I swung, loved them
and wanted to offer them peace." Charlie Rose was smiling,
excited. Even more than usual, the joy of an otter
seemed to be swimming through the long river of his body
when he put a hand on the man's memoir and said,
"But then something happened that made you question
your entire existence up to that point." It was hard
to see the man all in black on Charlie Rose's black set,
as if midnight were speaking, saying, "Yes. One day
I looked down and there was the son I'd never had
staring up at me from the block, I could tell
by his eyes, this was my boy, this was my life
flowing out, reaching beyond the sadness of its borders."
"You knew this," Charlie Rose said. "I knew this,"
the executioner replied. "Even though you'd never been
with a woman." "Never. I was all about career." "You knew
because the eyes tell us something." "Because the eyes
tell us everything." "And you couldn't go on." "No.
I couldn't go on." They changed gears then and honestly
I drifted off, half-dreamed I'd arranged a tropical
themed party on a roof without testing how much dancing
and vodka the roof could hold, people were falling
but still laughing, falling but still believing
there was a reason to put umbrellas in their drinks,
that otherwise their drunkenness would be rained on,
rained out, when I heard the executioner say, "We
were running and running. Finally we made it to the border
and I put my arms around my son and told him, you have a future
but no pony. Get a pony." Charlie Rose smiled
like he was smiling for the otter, for whatever is lithe
and liquid in our spirits, and repeated, "Get a pony."
"That's the last time I saw him," the executioner said.
"And that's why you've refused to die." "Yes."
"To keep that moment alive." "Yes." "And you believe eternity
is an act of will." "Yes," Mr. Midnight said. "Will.
Will and love. Love and fury."