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The Ruminators


John Singer Sargent, "Orestes Pursued by the Furies," 1921, detail

114 words

We nurse old wounds. Slowly. Carefully. Some
Are so flimsy, they might fall apart from
Being examined too much, or too long,
By anyone but us. Still, most are strong,
Or strong enough. Each one of them’s become
A special thing, a poisoned point, a strum
Of nasty notes producing a thick hum
Of wretchedness and bile. We like that song.
We nurse old wounds
As we sing it: “La la and dum de dum,
We don’t forget anyone who has done
Something wrong to us. La la
.” Every wrong.
Every word. Every day we pull that throng
Of past hurts up, and, as we recall them,
We nurse old wounds.