Aphorism 42: If You Were As Innocent As You Pretend To Be We'd Never Get Anywhere

by John Blair

Sin is its own reward   wherever
you find it   & in whatever darkness;
   when you're slapped you'll take it
and like it
   Sam Spade says
in The Maltese Falcon as he smacks
little Cairo hard & three times because
   surprise surprise   he likes it
and because we all so helplessly
like it too   letting go like that
   fierce and sudden   like a fist
Sam says   when you open your hand.

John Blair has published six books, most recently Playful Song Called Beautiful (University of Iowa Press, 2016) as well as poems & stories in The Colorado Review, Poetry, The Sewanee Review, The Antioch Review, New Letters, and elsewhere. His seventh book, The Aphelion Elegies, is forthcoming this spring from Main Street Rag Press.