He sits quietly at work,
seemingly minding his own business
in a cubicle covered with neutral-grey fabric.
He may kill dozens of people this week
or he may take his family to Disneyworld.
He may finally ask forgiveness
of a priest or family demon or a character
in a book he is reading. His only friend.
He may apologize to random strangers on the street,
wishing they existed in a different way,
more substantial than the phantoms
they have become in his blood fantasies.
He may change his mind and join a cult,
a yoga studio, a paramilitary organization,
the Green Party, a swinger’s club or PETA.
He may just join all of these at once.
He may seem increasingly attentive to his wife
or significant other, like the mother who took
her young son on an amusement park spree
before disappearing him forever.
He may become more charming at work,
explore various gambits, make sexual overtures
with the bomb ticking in his head. His favorite color
may change. He may listen to that music
he always hated. When he stands on the stairs
that lead into work, watch how he flickers
like an image on a bad television.
Someone may hear his body ticking
and wonder where it’s coming from,
that weird sound. One of his kids might spend the night
at a friend’s house and refuse to go home
the next day, without being able to explain.
This kid will think about his sister later,
for the rest of his life. She didn’t spend
the night somewhere else. The man
with the bomb ticking in his head sits quietly
at work and smiles when he looks up
from that book that is making him so happy.
The book titled Butterflies and Their Ways.