In Love's Name
by Penny Gerking

In memory of Caden, Dimitri, Eli, LaTosha, and all those children whose names have been forgotten

He loved him, he said,
red-faced and weeping, he loved him
like his own son. He wouldn't hurt him,
he cried, hands to the sky,
he loved him.

He loved him, she said, shocked and pale.
He would never do that, he loved him.

Like his own son he loved him,
while he stroked the back, the ribs,
the legs, those thin rods, thick rope,
narrow wire, used with loving care.

She loved him, forgetting to feed him,
shutting the door on his midnight sobs,
it pained her to hear him cry, always
crying, she loved him too much to listen.

His love was so forceful, sitting
on the belly, swinging him by the head,
pushing the small face beneath water.

She loved him, had a picture of him,
in his hand-me-down clothes, bare feet, burned hands,
his sad and tremulous smile.

At last, they simply loved him to death.

And still she loves him, arms open to him as he
is taken from the courtroom, tears streaming
as he passes without a glance, but oh
she loves him,
loves him,
loves him.

penny gerking

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