A Revisionist’s History

Paulo Faustino, aged forty-one,
sits in the room he shared
with his wife, then son; now none.
Their framed faces signal to him
from the mantle. A low flame
embers in the grate.

At his feet, a cigar box
filled with wounds
both ancient and prevailing.
He spreads them on the floor.
A sea of same;
iris and pupil, cornea and lens.
They call to him, beckon for touch.

He scans the room.
The bright cityscape
glittering in from the bay windows
searing in contrast
to the dark of this space.

The steel in his hand weighs heavy,
pinecone pattern of the grip
branded to his palm, skin tender
from pressure and time.
He drops the hammer
with a soft move of his thumb,
bears his arm
to the delicate ring of flesh
on the right side of his head.

When the migraines came,
his mother would spin
the tip of her finger there
in tune with “Nana, nenê,”
her favorite lullaby.

Sleep, baby, at grandpa’s house,
grandpa doesn’t have a mattress,
baby sleeps on the ground.

Paulo raises his eyes,
exhales a heavy breath,
and pulls the trigger
of his Smith & Wesson.