Corey Zeller

        What about the goons?
        Those criminals thwarted and left for dead in every action movie for the past thirty years. I’m sure at least a dozen survived the slaughters. This one who quit working for Columbian drug smugglers is now an insurance salesman who makes his kids say the Pledge of Allegiance every morning. Or this one, with a trachea, in some VA Memorial Hospital in New Jersey. He sits by the window in his wheelchair holding the wooden figurines of animals he made in a whittling class. He hates the shade of green of his hospital gown. It reminds him of how water always looks in the rivers and lakes up north. He knows how good water can hide what we want lost. He knows water is the greatest liar. He’ll tell you never trust a man who takes a shower more than twice a day. He’ll tell you failure is like cancer. He’ll tell you that it always comes long before anyone notices and once they do it’s too late.

• •

        Light is the builder.

        Your entire world is shaped by light. It frees and confines. You say the crime happened in broad daylight. Why is this surprising? What does the light in its narrowness or its thickest have to do with safety? What reflects, what illuminates, does not restrain us. It is not a basis of conduct.

        You have nothing to say about coarse shadows.

• •

        There is no difference between saving the world and destroying it.
        This is why the policeman seems lovingly to embrace the felon he’s pinned to the concrete. This is why the hero rarely murders his arch nemesis. Each movement of good vs. evil makes little difference. We battle routine. We battle the slow burn of time. We fight with what little wisdom we’ve gathered from experience.

        We tell ourselves we’re good.

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