In the Wake of the Heartbeat Bills

Then there was the one about
the preacher’s daughter

who after telling him what
she intended by him was told,
exact words we only suppose,
why what was there needed
to stay where
it was growing ongoing already there
or at least the deep hunch of
hunch enough to fabricate soul and such
in short consider—maybe he said—Jeremiah
before I formed you etc.
and who in their right mind wants
to tangle with Jeremiah he’s mad
thus what’s formed by
Form itself ought to stay that way my child
and when she didn’t budge
conform heart
to Form or formed
evidently abandoned Jeremiah
the preacher did
tore down the gates of the mind
drove her to the place of unforming
why exactly it did not say
maybe because he was her father
had a car.

That’s the story she told forty years on
in a Midwestern paper as
backdrop for her hard-earned position
on the matter.

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And it spins your head to wondering
if in the worst moment of her life your own
image and likeness about to remove likeness
and image twice removed of you having
desperately tried to salvage heartbeat
(thinkest thou quickens there what, my
child, a duck?)
and heart rent having none of it
asks just a ride nothing more,
because there’s no one else around dad
not in the least my co-conspirator
in this matter
and I’d rather not ride in a cab like going to
the airport or something and where am I really going
would you thus realign your heartbeat
to hers
take your daughter there
the unholiest there you guess you could go
because you cannot let her alone
no matter the moral cost to your moral soul
quickening morals more and more
(though moral never quickens fully so
because of living moral
what do we really fully know?)
and if you decide to do it
heart melted into what the hell
would you stay silent
and pretty much
just drive?

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