The Secret to Happiness

When the News reporter’s voice invaded our home
We ran into the kitchen
Trying to escape the bubbling monotones
Dripping like caustic magma from his mouth to our minds

In the kitchen, we clanked silverware
To drown out the words
That corroded our minds like caustic magma
Our foreheads leaning together for comfort

We couldn’t drown out that image with noise
I pressed my palms over my ears to stop the sound
As our foreheads pressed together, the terror slipped out
“Meat hooks and electrical wires”

I pressed my palms over my ears so I couldn’t hear you
Begging me to tell you it wasn’t true
Meat hooks and electrical wires
Snaked into skin and sinew in that cold cell underground

But I couldn’t tell you it wasn’t true
Because you could see him
sinews hanging against the wall of that cold cell underground
His scapula scraping against the meat hooks that crucified him

You could see it, couldn’t stop seeing it, in your mind
The spasming of his ganglion, bared to the abrasive air
Crucified sacrilegiously on meat hooks, by his own scapula
Electrical wires spiked into the soft curve of his feet

The twitching of his ganglion are the shadowiest signs of life
His blood spattered against his ribcage and the walls
The electrical wires spiked into the carbuncle veins of his forearms, wedged under his nails
Perhaps his heart burst from the impulse snaking up his spine

His blood spattered against his ribcage and my skull
While I stood on the blank white tiles of my kitchen
Afraid that the toaster would send an electrical impulse snaking up my spine
Afraid I was too young to know this

I stood on those stark white tiles
And whispered to you the secret
We were too young to know
“just don’t think about it”

I whispered it to you
Without the slightest shame, just like the grownups
“Just don’t think about it”
The great American secret