The first few thin cuts I could forgive, even the gashes at the wrist, the clawing to get the job over with. But after the heart refused to give up, each nerve cell protesting, this pain the only way the body knew to insist on its rights, how could you have begun to search kitchen drawers for a sharper blade? And then stab not once but three times. Why would anyone wish to harm the belly, the old buffoon who wants only to be fed? What had it done to deserve this butchery? The act monstrous not because it’s impossible to imagine but because it is possible. All night on my knees I crouch over the dark stains, scrub like someone doing more than cleaning, determined to rub so hard, the blood is not just gone but has never been there, this work clear, specific, a trail I follow from room to room. At least your daughters won’t have to see the streaked walls, soiled curtains. There is no healing mass for your friends. All we can do now is to turn the dark clots of your blood back into a pale, watery wine and flush it. SEIZE THE DAY the poster by your front door reads. HAVE YOU MADE THIS DAY THE BEGINNING OF A NEW LIFE? the poster by the back door asks. What kind of world is this? you’d cry out, start ticking off items on a list you faithfully kept updating: reports of starvation in our own city, the dismemberment of a young, gay man, a former student of yours killed while waiting for a light to change, this war. You overlook evidence to the contrary, don’t want to be confused any further by living simultaneously in a world of incalculable horror and small comfort. Blood for oil, you said, Mark my words, there will be blood for oil. Now on every station where there’s supposed to be music there’s more news of the bombings. If I run this faucet long enough the blood will soak loose from my rag, the water will unravel in my hands, cold and clear again. How difficult it is to forgive this world for being what it is: accidental and unfathomable. Apparently there was no place on your ledger for my clumsy, sometimes exasperated acts of concern, no acknowledgment of your own generous impulses, wry humor, the body’s gallant persistence, its great courage that had kept you alive even with your wrists slashed, even as the sun fell across your face.